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'Planet killers' hiding in the solar system could hit Earth: study

Planet killers hiding in the solar system could hit Earth: study

New Delhi: Astronomers have found three Near-Earth Asteroids (NEAs) hiding in the inner solar system.

The finding comes a month after scientists successfully removed a threatening asteroid from Earth's path.

The problem that scientists face this time round is the location of three heavenly objects unlike the previous ones.

One of the three asteroids is 1.5 kilometre wide with an orbit that could veer close to Earth's path someday, according to a study published in The Astronomical Journal.

How awful it must be even to just imagine a village-size rock hitting a city, or a village for that matter!

A team of international astronomers spotted these objects through the Dark Energy Camera (DECam) mounted on the Vìctor M. Blanco 4-meter Telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile.

The three asteroids were found in the interior region of the orbits of Earth and Venus.

They are sitting in an inaccessible locale skipping human observation because of the glare of the sun.

Astronomer Scott S. Sheppard based at the Earth and Planets Laboratory of the Carnegie Institution for Science said:

"Our twilight survey is scouring the area within the orbits of Earth and Venus for asteroids. So far we have found two large near-Earth asteroids that are about 1 kilometer across, a size that we call planet killers."

Sheppard added that only about 25 asteroids with orbits completely within Earth's orbit have been discovered to date.

The reason for not being able to find others is the difficulty from observing objects near the glare of the sun.

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