Beacon Transcript – As everyone seems to be looking for the next big threat, astronomers have nonetheless spotted an unusually bright and tiny asteroid near our Earth.
Asteroids, meteorites, and other such space rocks are a old cause of concern for astronomers and all those involved.
As such, scientists are trying to come up with a way of protecting our planet as faster, more accurate eyes have been trained to the sky.
But as everyone seems to be looking for the next potential crash, astronomers also discovered an unusually bright tiny asteroid.
The tiny asteroid, the smallest as yet recorded in the Earth’s vicinity, was first spotted in October 2015. As the space rock is located as close as 80,000 miles from our planet, researchers have considered this as an opportunity to study the asteroid.
Situated at such a distance, the space rock is at a third of the total distance calculated to be separating us from the Moon.
The tiny asteroid rock was titled 2015 TC25. Although it is very close to Earth, astronomers do not believe it will ever hit our planet.
Such an impact study was determined by TC25’s dimensions as it is just a bit over 6 feet across. Its dimensions, though small, nonetheless place it in the size category of possible Earth impact bodies.
Besides its tiny size, TC25 has another uncommon property. The rock was observed to be unusually bright as it reflects about 60 percent of the sunlight which hits it.
In contrast, the Moon reflects just about 12 percent of all the sunlight that it usually receives.
The fact that it is so close has given researchers the chance to both study its properties and to hypostasize as to its origins.
The University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory’s Vishnu Reddy is the lead author of a study on 2015 TC25.
As the study published in The Astronomical Journal pointed out, the tiny asteroid could essentially be considered a meteoroid.
Reddy also stated that TC25 was the astronomers’ first chance of obtaining infrared, radar, and optical data on such a small asteroid.
Reddy also expressed the belief that TC25 may originate from a much larger asteroid named 44 Nysa. According to him, the 44 Nysa origin may also explain the tiny asteroid fast rotation rates.
TC25 was noted as being one of the fastest rotating space objects located near our Earth. It was determined that the tiny asteroid completes a rotation each and every 2 minutes.
Another advantage of the asteroid’s closeness is the chance to study its untainted surface. As Reddy pointed out, observing the body in space offers a pristine condition look at its surface.
After encountering our Earth’s atmosphere, such tiny asteroids could either disintegrate or noticeably change their properties.
The detailed studies have also helped determine the cause of the rock’s unusual brightness. As such, it was noted that TC25 hosts a high silicates concentration.
Silicates are highly reflective, which would explain the unusual brightness of the tiny asteroid. It was also determined that the rock belongs to the aubrites asteroid class. Aubrites form in basaltic environments that boast high temperatures.
Besides taking a step forward in protecting our planet, by studying asteroids, researchers are also hoping to better understand the Solar System and its earliest period.
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