Home / Science / No, asteroid 2006 QV89 will not hit the earth in September 2019 | space

No, asteroid 2006 QV89 will not hit the earth in September 2019 | space

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  Diagram showing orbits of earth, inner planets and asteroid 2006 QV89.

Seen on this scale, above the solar system, it looks as if the ground and asteroids 2006 QV89 cut. Yet this 9th of February 2019's asteroid pass is not very close. Image via NASA's center for object studies near the Earth.

Over the past month, there have been many articles (for example, here and here) about a space stone passing closest to Earth on September 9, 201

9. Some focus on the minuscule chance that this asteroid might strike the earth in September, but we are here to focus on the much greater chance that this asteroid will not beat us. In fact, the 2006 QV89 asteroid is currently classified by astronomers who are no danger. It is not expected to beat the earth. Although the asteroid 2006 QV89 appears on a "risk object list" from the European Space Agency, it is important to note that the asteroid has a Turin scale of 0, indicating its status No Risk . You can record it yourself on the diagram below, from ESA. Like many asteroids, 2006 is QV89 on a "risk" list, but ESA currently classifies it as a priority risk.

In June 2019, NASA / JPL calculates available data data that the space stone will not even have a particularly close approach to Earth in September 2019.

According to NASA's Center for Near Earth Object Studies, 2006 QV89 likely to pass so far from our planet that there is a 99,989 percent chance that the space rock will miss the earth in September 2019.

  ESA chart showing various orbital parameters for 2006 QV89.

This chart from the European Space Agency – published in June 2019 – shows the September stretch of the asteroid 2006 QV89 as 4,263,660 miles (6,861,695 km), or about 17 times the moon's distance. The object is in the category "astronomers" of risk, but it is not on the list of priorities.

Many asteroids are temporarily displayed in a risk list due to uncertainties in their paths. These types of uncertainties usually occur when an object has recently been discovered by observers, and is only seen for a few nights after the discovery, after which it is too weak to observe. As an asteroid is again observed – and the astronomers' asteroid orbit modeling program recognizes it as an asteroid previously discovered – the incoming new observations allow astronomers to better improve their orbit. The Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona discovered QV89 on August 29, 2006. At that time, it had a very short (10-day) observation arc. The Arecibo Observatory made radar observations of this asteroid on September 6, 2006. Since its onset, it was lost from sight again and has not been discovered since 2006.

Yet – from their short observations of it and from their knowledge of asteroids in general, which has increased dramatically in recent decades – astronomers can estimate that the 2006 QV89 is about 98-131 feet (30-40 meters) in diameter or the length of an American football pitch. It is classified as an asteroid of the type Apollo, which is earth-asteroids, of which about 20,000 are known from January 2019.

Writing on Science20, Robert Walker had a good explanation of the status of the asteroid 2006 QV89. He wrote on June 7, 2019:

Brief summary for panic: Expected to miss and currently NO DANGER is classified. Tiny, most likely for an asteroid of that size is "Splosh in the Pacific".

It's just a random asteroid, there are many in the table each year with dates that they "could" beat, but they are classified as no danger because they are all expected to miss. The press only picks up one of the many asteroids randomly from time to time. Every year, many asteroids are removed from the table which had the date of possible effects that year. It's just one of many NO DANGER asteroids currently in the table.

Sometime in the next century or two we can expect one of the many asteroids to hit, but if they are tracked we would have at least 10 years warning to evacuate any city. The most likely thing is that the next asteroid that strikes only blasts harmlessly into the sea. Beating a city is extremely unlikely and will probably have to wait thousands of years for it. An impact close to a city to warn residents to watch out for flying glass like Chelyabinsk is more likely and can happen, but not as likely as a harmless splosh in the sea.

This is an example of a sensationalist press chose a random asteroid history. NASA did not warn us about it, nor the ESA. It is expected to miss and is just classified as no danger.

In short … don't worry about ateroid 2006 QV89. It won't hit us.

So how about seeing it when it passes? According to ESA, the asteroid 2006 QV89 shows a maximum brightness or a size of +21.9 in September 2019, which means that the space stone will be extremely weak. It becomes so weak that it will not even be seen with most telescopes, with the exception of some large instruments of the type observatory.

  Diagram of the spacecraft's path towards small space stones in orbit around something larger.

NASA plans to attempt to divert a space stone from its path around September 2022. This schematic of the DART task shows the effect on the moon of asteroid Didymos. Post-impact observations from terrestrial optical telescopes and planetary radars would in turn measure the change in the moon's orbit over the parent body. Image via NASA / Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab.

Astronomers and other scientists practice with each close pass of an asteroid to better prepare for a real scenario of any dangerous near future in the future. In addition, NASA will practice bending an asteroid from its path. Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART Mission) is a planned space probe that will demonstrate the effects of crashing an impact ship in a planetary defense asteroid moon. It will be launched in June 2021 and will attempt to influence a target of 525 feet (160 meters) in the binary asteroid Didymos. The deliberate effect should occur sometime in September 2022. Read more about DART.

Eventually, it is likely that we will learn to deflect an incoming asteroid. Right now, if scientists were to discover an incoming asteroid, the best defense we have is to determine the power range as accurately as possible, and then to evacuate the area. An excellent exercise occurred on November 13, 2015. A small object – which was then determined to be a space debris – was discovered with a path that would capture the earth. A team of scientists could decide that it would enter the Earth's atmosphere over the sea near Sri Lanka, and a "no fly" and "no fishing" zone were issued.

So there you have it. As we have said many times before, and as it is still true, there is no known dangerous asteroid that poses an imminent danger to the Earth's impact. Can an asteroid strike the earth? Of course. Therefore, astronomers continue to be vigilant.

Bottom line: Asteroid 2006 QV89 has become unfairly hyped as a threat to the earth in September 2019. It is actually one of many asteroids on the astronomers' risk list, but it is not classified as a priority risk. It is classified as "no danger".

  Eddie Irizarry

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