A ‘Binary Asteroid System’ Passing Near the Earth was Detected


As scientists continued to observe an asteroid they thought was approaching Earth, they discovered that this asteroid actually revolves around the larger asteroid. Studies to observe the dual asteroid structure can offer more information about asteroids.

On January 27, scientists in the Mauna Loa of Hawaii detected an asteroid that they thought was approaching Earth with the telescope they used. The asteroid was named 2020 BX12 with a formulation based on the date of discovery.

The 2020 BX12 is classified as a potentially dangerous asteroid due to its size and trajectory approaching Earth. Asteroid had approached Earth about 4.3 million kilometers when it was detected. Scientists calculated by calculations that this would be the closest distance to the asteroid to Earth. In other words, asteroid is no longer approaching from Earth, on the contrary, it is moving away.

After the asteroid’s movement turned out to be not threatening the Earth, researchers continued observations at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico to learn more about asteroids.

The Arecibo Observatory was temporarily closed after a series of earthquakes in the region on December 28, 2019. The observatory was reopened on January 29, after the earthquake hazard passed. Some of the observations of the 2020 BX12 were also made here.

Astronomers from the Arecibo Observatory studied the 2020BX12 on February 4 and 5. Based on the observations, it was understood that the 2020 BX12 is a dual asteroid system that revolves around a larger asteroid. In the observations made, the width of the large asteroid was 175 meters and the width of the small asteroid was calculated as 70 meters. In the data obtained from the second observation on February 5, the width of the large asteroid was calculated as 360 meters.

Astronomers have not been able to get as much data as they can be sure of the size of the asteroids. It is estimated that the small asteroid rotates around the large asteroid between 45 and 50 hours and completes its orbit. It is also among the information that the small asteroid is brighter than the big and that the same face always faces the large asteroid during the turn.


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