Near Earth Asteroid Detection

As of April 2019, twenty thousand near earth asteroids have been found. We are finding them at a rate of 150 new discoveries every month and this number is set to rapidly increase.

Above- ESA’s Flyeye telescope is now being built in Italy

NASA’s Pan-STARRS and Catalina sky surveys have detected most of the known near earth asteroids.

The European Space Agency will deploy new Flyeye and Test-Bed Telescopes.

The Near Earth Object Survey TELescope (NEOSTEL aka “Flyeye”) is an astronomical survey and early-warning system for detecting near-Earth objects sized 40 meters and above a few weeks before they impact Earth. If we could track all asteroid threats down to 40 meters then we would be safe from impacts down to city level threats.

Flyeye will have one of the widest fields of view of any telescope and be able to survey the majority of the visible sky in a single night. If the initial prototype is successful, three more telescopes are planned, in complementary positions around the globe close to the equator.

ESA’s Flyeye telescope is designed with a very large field of view (FoV) in order to scan the sky for unknown near-Earth Objects (NEOs). For typical exposure times of 40 seconds, the telescope is able to detect objects with a limiting magnitude up to 21.5. The aim is to observe those NEOs that are going to hit the Earth within a few weeks or days, in advance of impact. In order to estimate the detection rate of NEOs with the Flyeye telescope, a synthetic population of Earth-threatening asteroids is created by means of the software NEOPOP. Then, the true anomalies and longitudes of the ascending node of these objects are modified in order to generate about 2500 impactors. In the simulations almost three impacts can be detected per year from NEOs down to 1 meter using only one Flyeye telescope. When operating two telescopes simultaneously, one at Monte Mufara and one at La Silla, four detected impacts per year are expected. Nonetheless, it is estimated that about 15.6% of the Earth impactors will be very difficult to be detected using ground-based telescopes due to the fact that they are approaching us from the Sun.

Near Earth Asteroid Threats

NASA has a planetary defense coordination office that looks at asteroid threats.

Written By Brian Wang,

19 thoughts on “Near Earth Asteroid Detection”

  1. Infrared would be fine, but they should still be positioned closer to the Sun than Earth, to maximize the chances of detecting objects that spend very little time further from the Sun.

  2. The black comets already orbit the sun. They belong to the Taurids stream. The remnants of the giant 100km comet that entered the inner solar system about 20K years ago and has broken apart. We get hit by the debris every so often.

  3. What we need is a good telescope situated closer to the Sun than the Earth. Maybe in one of Mercury’s Lagrange points. You want the Sun at your back when you’re looking for small, dark objects, and that just doesn’t happen from Earth for objects that don’t get much further from the Sun than Earth.

  4. Well tell that to the civilization and the mega fauna that was wiped out by multiple impacts 12800 years ago. What is the cost of that impact today? Say 95% of human life and most cities/civilization destroyed and depending upon impact point every coastal city eliminated. When the meteor gets to be 1 kilometer or larger it dosent matter where you are. This happened 12000 years ago so the probability is much higher that the assumed 60 million year cycle of impacts.

  5. Hee hee just think how wealthy you will be when a mile wide meteor lands on you. You will literately be buried in platinum.

  6. Yes they would claim that. I recommend that you you look up Carolina bays on you tube
    Also look at the newly discovered crater in Greenland that is filled with Ice hat seem to be about 12500 years old.

    BTW if you believe that 1000 ton stone monoliths were cut by hand using bronze tools and moved which cannot be done with today’s available cranes then you are smoking something.

  7. When it’s not you & yours, the perfunctory “thoughts & prayers” are the perfect solution to all inconvenient problems.

  8. Fake news.

    Asteroids impacts brings mineral wealth to the planet, just an excuse for the boffins to get fat on the govt dole.

  9. To your point…

    A “black comet” (one which has exhausted its store of volatiles, so is whizzing around Sol as just a chunk of conglomerated chondrite rubble) still will have an albedo, black or not. It generally isn’t appreciated that the average albedo of Luna is only 0.12, or about as reflective as wet dirt. Pretty dark! A “black comet core” would have an albedo about the same.

    But in any case, as you surmise, our “blind side” is definitely “from the direction of Sol”. The interplanetary dust glare is simply too large to make for practical long-term high-sensitivity imaging. 

    Think about this though: there definitely would NOT be a preferential-direction of anything (let alone dark cometary cores) coming at Terra from a hyperbolic trajectory looping around Sol from some close grazing orbit. The “incoming” spent cometary cores would come from virtually all directions.  

    Which is why comet-impacting-Earth events are so thankfully rare, as geologic evidence shows. About every 100 MILLION years plus-or-minus 50 mil.  

    Now, all these events though very closely adhere to Zipf’s Power laws, as shown in this article’s graph of № vs. size. Same for Oört and Kuiper Belt interlopers. There isn’t a “preferential size” mechanism to sort the deep space chunks… they come in all sizes.  

    So, “from a random direction” at a speed fitting on a Bell Curve of about 25±10 km/s, does it. 

    Just saying,
    GoatGuy ✓

  10. What if the “city” is mega-metropolis Lagos, New York, London, Singapore, Sao Paulo, Moscow or Caracas? Very much harder to empty out in a few weeks.  

    Statistics tho’ is on our side. Big Bolides don’t have any attraction to smack down any particular spot on Earth. Its entirely random. So… 

    196,000,000 mi² is Earth’s surface area.  
    500,000 mi² is “cities larger than 500,000 people”.  

    P = 0.003

    A 1-in–300 chance of a random NEO hitting a city. Let alone how rare they are hitting Earth to begin with.  

    Chelyabinsk … as an example … wasn’t even 50 feet in diameter. (Its so funny to read 17.3 meters, when by anyone’s professional reckoning, the density of Chelyabinsk meteor was estimated as between 700 to 1500 kg/m³, and its incoming speed at 11,000 to 15,000 m/s.  The “atomic yield” equivalent itself is said to be between 250 kt-TNT and 700 kt-TNT average 500 kt-TNT. So, 3 decimal places is totally awry. 50 feet was some professor’s original estimate. Not metric.  It stands. 

    Just saying,
    GoatGuy ✓

  11. Link?

    The wikipedia article claims that this is still a controversial theory. And there is no mention at all of any advanced civilization.

  12. If we could track all asteroid threats down to 40 meters then we would be safe from impacts down to city level threats.

    Err… no. Not until we also implement a defense system. All the detection gives us at this point is an opportunity to short the appropriate markets.

  13. Now that scientists are starting agree on the multiple comet impacts that hit the earth 12900 years ago perhaps more money will be allocated. That event wiped out an advanced human civilization and 90% of the earths mega fauna. The impact probability is much greater than the 66 million year old dinosaur extinction event.

  14. None of these will detect the “Black Swan”, the dead black comet coming from the direction of the sun, until it is much too late.

    I think we will need radar to find the black comets.


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