Near Earth Asteroid Detection

As of April 2019, 20 022 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 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,


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