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Science

Twilight telescopes find city-killing asteroids

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art of sun, Mercury and asteroid
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When it comes to finding asteroids, we have a blind spot. It may seem counterintuitive, but the most important asteroid discoveries are now being made at dusk, when astronomers can look close to the horizon – and close to the Sun – for obscure objects. asteroids which revolve inside the orbits of the Earth, Venus and even Mercury.

In perspective published In Science Today, asteroid hunter Scott Sheppard of the Carnegie Institute of Science highlights new surveys of the “twilight telescope” and the wealth they are beginning to uncover. This includes the first asteroid with an inner orbit around Venus and one with the shortest known orbital period around the Sun, both of which were discovered in the last two years. It also includes “city killers”, asteroids large enough that, if they collided with Earththe damage will be severe.


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