Tingley 2019 – Brett Tingley [Columnist] February 13, 2019. ‘New ‘Scary Known Unknown’ Asteroid Could Be One of Many’ Mysterious Universe. https://mysteriousuniverse.org/2019/02/new-scary-known-unknown-asteroid-could-be-one-of-many/ BAC
Astronomers using a new state of the art telescopic camera have detected a strange new asteroid which is adding to the growing number of known Earth-killing asteroids zooming around in near space. Researchers believe the curious object could be part of a massive unknown population of asteroids zooming around space near the Sun and inner planets. When will the next big one hit? ‘We have found an extraordinary object whose orbit barely strays beyond Venus’ orbit — that’s a big deal. In so many ways, 2019 AQ3 really is an oddball asteroid.’ That’s according to Quanzhi Ye, a postdoctoral researcher at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC) at the California Institute of Technology. Ye was part of the team which discovered 2019 AQ3, an asteroid some researchers have dubbed a “scary known unknown.” The object is one of the fastest known asteroids, orbiting the Sun every 165 days and is believed to be almost 1 mile (1.6 km) across – plenty big enough to kill every living thing on Earth were it to impact. More good news: 2019 AQ3 is also among the first asteroid to be found which stays within Venus’ orbit, meaning it stays relatively close to Earth, cosmically speaking. The asteroid is called “scary” because it is in a class of near-Earth objects (NEOs) which are so small that they aren’t quite bright enough to be detected until they’re very close to Earth. If one were to be discovered on a collision course with our planet, it would likely be too late to do anything about it except party like its the end of the world. 2019 AQ3 is a “known unknown” because while we know that tens of thousands of similar objects are zooming around in the Solar System, we’ve only just begun to identify and track these potentially hazardous NEOs.