Astronomers have discovered a new asteroid called 2021 PH27, which is the object of the record. It is the smallest year among other known asteroids, orbiting the Sun in just 113 days. The only known object in the fastest orbit is the inner planet, Mercury.
The object is in a strange orbit that is closer to the Sun than Mercury and then farther away from Venus. Because of its proximity to the Sun, the mass of our stars, the orbits of the asteroids are moved following the general law of relativity. 2021 PH27 is the object of the solar system that feels the greatest example of such a relative effect. And that’s not all. Sheppard said in a statement, “2021 PH27 moves so close to the sun that its surface temperature becomes close to [500 °C] 900 degrees Fahrenheit, hot enough to melt lead.”
The asteroid is in orbital orbit for approximately one kilometer (0.6 miles). The team estimates that it will be destroyed in a few million years. It can happen in a variety of ways: collision with Mercury or Venus, it can be pushed towards the sun, or it can just go out. “Perhaps 2021 PH27 was removed from the original asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars, and the gravity of the inner planets gives its orbit the shape of its current configuration,” Sheppard said.
“However, based on the large angle of inclination of 32 degrees, it is possible that 2021 PH27 is an extinct comet in the outer solar system that came very close to one of the planets because its ocean path brought it closer to it, the inner solar system.” More observations will be needed to fully understand the origin of asteroids, but they will not be easy. The discovery itself was not easy in the first place. Objects so close to the sun can only be seen when the sun sets or rises. Del Antonio and Fu used powerful dark energy cameras in the Blanco 4-meter (13-foot) telescope at the National Science Foundation in Chile, to see what could happen near the sun.
On 13 August Sheppard found the first hint of this object. This was followed by the following few nights from the Chilean Observatory and the South African Observatory as the weather in the South American region was not favorable. “Since the object was already in the sun’s glare and was moving more and more towards it, it was essential that we determine the orbit of the object before it got lost behind our central star,” explained Dave Tholen of the University of Hawaii, who quickly measured the position and prediction of asteroids in the sky. Where would the night be after the initial discovery?
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