ESA says “dangerous asteroid” 2021 qm1 will not hit the earth in 2052
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ESA, in cooperation with the research organization of the European Southern Observatory, said that the deleted signal was “the result of skilled observation and analysis of the weakest asteroid with one of the world’s most sensitive telescopes”.
On 24 may 2022, ESA’s very large telescope captured this view of the extremely dim asteroid 2021 qm1. The red circle indicates the asteroid.
Concerns about the asteroid arose in 2021. The asteroid was first discovered in August last year. Follow up observations show that it has a 1 in 3322 chance of hitting the earth’s atmosphere in 2052.
The asteroid is about 164 feet (50 meters) in diameter. Its impact will be impressive, but it will not damage the whole earth.
It is difficult for researchers to determine the path of the asteroid because it is obscured by the brightness of the sun, making it difficult to track with telescopes. It was also far away from the earth, so when it left the strong light, it was very dim. This is where ESA’s very large telescope (VLT) in Chile came into play in late May.
ESA astronomer Olivier Hainaut said in a statement: “we have a short window to find our dangerous asteroid. What is worse, it was passing through a region of the sky, and the Milky way was behind it. Our small, weak, retreating asteroid will have to be found against the background of thousands of stars.”
New observations from the VLT telescope allow scientists to more accurately determine the path of asteroids and rule out Impacts in 2052. The removal of 2021 qm1 from the risk list is a cause for celebration, but ESA says 1377 other asteroids remain on the list.
Sometimes, undiscovered asteroids approach the earth quietly, but scientists have become better at finding and tracking space rocks that may threaten the earth. The legend of 2021 qm1 shows that this system is working.