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Astronomers have found a rare kilometer-wide asteroid with the shortest year known

Astronomers have found a rare kilometer-wide asteroid with the shortest year known

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A massive asteroid has eluded astronomers because of its unusual orbit — until now. Astronomers have spotted 2019 LF6, which is about a kilometer wide and boasts the shortest “year” of any known asteroid, circling the sun about every 151 days, according to the California Institute of Technology. This rare rocky body is one of only 20 known Atira asteroids, those whose orbits fall entirely within that of the Earth. “You don’t find kilometer-size asteroids very often these days,” said Quanzhi Ye, a postdoctoral scholar at Caltech who discovered 2019 LF6 via the Zwicky Transient Facility, a camera at the school’s Palomar Observatory that scans the sky for objects. “Thirty years ago, people started organizing methodical asteroid searches, finding larger objects first, but now that most of them have been found, the bigger ones are rare birds.” It’s difficult to spot the asteroids because astronomers only have about 20 to 30 minutes before or after sunset to find them, Ye said. “LF6 is…
Source: Astronomers have found a rare kilometer-wide asteroid with the shortest year known

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