RESEARCHERS have discovered a pair of asteroids orbiting the Sun that were formed less than 300 years ago, according to a new study.
The find makes the twin asteroids – dubbed 2019 PR2 and 2019 QR6 – the youngest found in our solar system.
“It’s very exciting to find such a young asteroid pair that was formed only about 300 years ago, which was like this morning – not even yesterday – in astronomical timescales,” said astronomer Petr Fatka of the Astronomical Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences.
The two asteroids were initially discovered separately in 2019 by teams of scientists using the Pan-STARRS1 survey telescope in Hawaii and the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona.
Using several different telescopes to take images of the pair, observations revealed that the two rocks have very similar surfaces, which indicated that they came from the same parent object.
After further analysis, scientists also discovered that the asteroids, which are about 600,000 miles (1 million kilometers) apart, possessed properties that were unusual for their young age.
“In the present day, the bodies don’t display any signs of cometary activity. So it remains a mystery how these objects could have gone from a single parent body to individually active objects, to the inactive pair we see today in just 300 years,” said Nicholas Moskovitz of Lowell Observatory.
Basically, the biggest questions surrounding the asteroids are “whether these objects derived from a parent comet or asteroid and how activity may have evolved since their separation,” according to the study.
The two asteroids were closest to Earth in October 2019, with the next such visit due to happen in November 2047.
However, scientists are aiming to gather data on the interstellar rocks sometime in 2033, which is when they will be visible from Earth, once more.
Researchers are hoping the mysterious young rocks will give more insight into how asteroids behave and form.
In other news, Nasa has upgraded its asteroid hazard software with some key changes that should help it better detect potentially dangerous space rocks.
Nasa has revealed stunning footage of a solar flare in action.
And, the US space agency is planning for a ‘golden asteroid’ probing mission to launch this summer.
We pay for your stories!
Do you have a story for The US Sun team?
https://www.the-sun.com/tech/4633452/youngest-asteroids-solar-system/ Youngest asteroids ever found in Solar System and they’re baffling scientists