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China's astronomical observatory spots new near-Earth asteroid

2023/3/20 18:43:02   source:CGTN

The Nanshan One-meter Wide-field Telescope has discovered a new near-Earth asteroid (NEA), according to the Xinjiang Astronomical Observatory (XAO) under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center confirmed the discovery and designated the NEA with the provisional number 2023 DB2.

Based on observations from multiple devices around the world, researchers confirmed that the near-Earth asteroid has an absolute magnitude of 21.76, which corresponds to a diameter of about 200 meters, about the size of two football fields. It takes about 1.06 years to orbit the sun.

Its closest approach to Earth's orbit is more than 30 million km, approximately 80 times the distance between the Earth and the moon, said Ali Esamdin, a researcher with the XAO.

The discovery was the result of cooperation between the XAO and an amateur astronomy team named Xingming.

Gao Xing, leader of the amateur astronomy team, said that cooperation between professional astronomers and amateur astronomy teams can unravel more secrets about the stars and bring astronomy closer to ordinary people.

NEAs are asteroids that travel within a distance of 1.3 astronomical units from the sun (the average distance between the sun and the Earth is one astronomical unit), said the XAO.

As they are likely to pass close to the Earth in the course of orbit, NEAs are the most threatening class of small celestial bodies in the solar system to the Earth, but also the object of study in the development and utilization of small celestial body resources, the XAO said. The observation and discovery are helpful to understand the composition of the primitive solar system, the distribution of water and the dynamic evolution of the solar system.

(With input from Xinhua)

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