ASTRONOMERS from the Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland have found that a recently discovered asteroid has been following the Earth in its motion around the sun for at least the past 250,000 years, and may be intimately related to the origin of planet Earth. Their research paper appears in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
The asteroid first caught the eye of the scientists – Apostolos “Tolis” Christou and David Asher – two months after it was found by the WISE infrared survey satellite, launched in 2009 by the United States. Dr. Christou said:
“Its average distance from the sun is identical to that of the Earth, but what really impressed me at the time was how Earth-like its orbit was.”
Most near-Earth asteroids – NEAs for short – have very eccentric, or egg-shaped, orbits that take the asteroid right through the inner solar system. But the new object, designated 2010 SO16, is different. Its orbit is almost circular, so it cannot come close to any other planet in the solar system except possibly Earth.
The researchers set out to investigate how stable this orbit is and how long the asteroid has occupied it. To do that, they first had to take into account the current uncertainty in the asteroid’s orbit. Dr. Asher said:
“Not knowing precisely the location of a newly-discovered NEA is quite common. The only way to eliminate the uncertainty is to keep tracking the asteroid for as long as possible, usually months or years.”
But the two scientists overcame that problem by creating virtual “clones” of the asteroid for every possible orbit that it could conceivably occupy. They then simulated the evolution of these clones under the gravity of the sun and the planets for two million years into the past and in the future.
They found that all the clones remained in a so-called “horseshoe” state with respect to the Earth. In this configuration, an object mimics very closely the orbital motion of our planet around the sun, but, as seen from Earth, it appears to slowly trace out a horseshoe shape in space. Asteroid 2010 SO16 takes 175 years to make the trip from one end of the horseshoe to the other. So while on the one hand its orbit is remarkably similar to Earth’s, in fact, according to Dr. Christou:
“This asteroid is “terraphobic.” It keeps well away from the Earth. So well, in fact, that it has likely been in this orbit for several hundred thousand years, never coming closer to our planet than 50 times the distance to the moon.”
This is where it is now, near the end of the horseshoe trailing the Earth.
Currently, three other horseshoe companions of the Earth are known to exist but, unlike 2010 SO16, these linger for a few thousand years at most before moving on to different orbits. Also, with an estimated diameter of 200-400 meters, 2010 SO16 is by far the largest of Earth’s horseshoe asteroids. The team used the Las Cumbres Observatory’s Faulkes Telescope in an on-going campaign to track the object and refine its orbit further. According to Dr. Asher:
“It is not that difficult to spot with a medium-sized professional telescope. It will remain as an evening object in Earth’s skies for many years to come.”
Ultimately, Christou and Asher would like to know where it came from, and they have already thought of several possibilities.
It could be an ordinary asteroid coming from the Main Belt between Mars and Jupiter. In that case, the random gravitational pull of the different planets would be responsible for its present orbit, something that Tolis and David think is an unlikely proposition.
It could also be a piece of the moon that escaped the gravity of the Earth-moon system and went into an independent orbit around the sun. However, the very stability of its orbit means that there is currently no way to transport it from the moon to where it is now.
Finally, 2010 SO16 could represent leakage from a population of objects near the so-called triangular equilibrium points 60 degrees ahead of and behind the Earth in its orbit. Such a population has been postulated in the past but never observed, because such objects are always near the sun in the sky. If they do exist, they may represent relic material from the formation of Earth, the moon, and the other inner planets 4.5 billion years ago.
Source: Armagh Observatory
Russian missile alert after mysterious ‘vortex’ slams into Germany
A shocking ‘top-secret’ report prepared Russia’s Ministry of Emergency Situations (EMERCOM) on their meeting this past week with Prime Minister Putin warns that our planet Earth is ‘under attack’ by an as yet unnamed ‘extraterrestrial entity’ to which President Medvedev has responded by ordering a second regiment of S-400 Triumf anti-aircraft missile systems to protect Moscow from low-Earth orbiting ‘targets’.
According to this report, the extraordinary gamma-ray explosion first observed in deep space on March 28 by NASA’s Swift satellite, and that has so far lasted an unprecedented 12 days, appears to be ‘communicating’ with the massive Asteroid 2010 SO16 —the largest space rock ever discovered so close to Earth—and Asteroid 2005 YU55, a round mini-world that is about 400 meters (1,300 feet) in diameter and which in early November will approach our planet within a scant 0.85 lunar distances.
“Even more alarming is this report stating that these two massive Asteroids have moved closer to our Earth over the past two-decades”
Though Russian scientists have as yet been unable to identify what these ‘communications’ mean, the effects upon our planet are being widely observed due to these two Asteroids allegedly shooting ‘blue beams’ into the Earth’s upper atmosphere, that have been captured on video in Russia, New Zealand and by the International Space Station.
The EMERCOM report further states that one of these blue beams created a massive ‘vortex’ that opened over northern Germany on April 8th, past hurling nearly 100 vehicles into total chaos killing 8 people andinjuring over 41 more.
Even more alarming is this report stating that these two massive Asteroids have moved closer to our Earth over the past two-decades, the winds on our planet have been mysteriously increasing too. This shock finding was further confirmed by Vice-Chancellor Ian Young of the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia, who has found that our world has become stormier over the past 20 years—winds having picked up around 5 percent on average, and extremely strong winds caused by storms have increased even faster, jumping 10%.
Equally alarming is the fact that Earth’s ozone layer has suffered a record loss this spring over the Arctic due to these blue beams disrupting our planet’s magnetic shielding—a finding further confirmed by the World Meteorological Organization, who report that observations from the ground, balloons and satellites show that this region has suffered an ozone column loss of about 40% from the beginning of the winter to late March…
Source: Pakistan News