Sunday, March 26

Meteorite Alert Observatory Adds New Telescopes | Digital Trends Spanish

The Institute of Astronomy of the University of Hawaii (IfA) enabled two new telescopes for the ATLAS system (acronym for Asteroid Terrestrial-impact last alert System), which aims to warn of the imminent impact of an asteroid on Earth.

Currently, NASA and other space agencies use a network of telescopes around the world to warn of near-Earth object impacts, known as NEOs. Near Earth Object.

NASA, through offices such as the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, have detected some 18,000 NEOs of more than 140 meters in diameter, and if they impact the Earth, they could produce catastrophic events. However, what about objects smaller than that diameter?

This is where the ATLAS system of the University of Hawaii comes into action, whose telescopes can detect asteroids of at least 20 meters in diameter.

The new telescopes were installed in the southern hemisphere, specifically at the Sutherland Observation Station in South Africa, and at the El Sauce Observatory in Chile. Both telescopes join those located in Haleakala and Maunaloa, both in Hawaii.

The idea of ​​locating the two new telescopes in the northern hemisphere is to allow ATLAS to monitor the dark sky 24 hours a day.

“An asteroid that could hit Earth can come at any time from any direction, so now ATLAS will be able to look at the sky all the time.” highlighted in a statement John Torny, one of the University of Hawaii researchers involved in the project.

According to specialists, ATLAS can notify about 24 hours in advance about the impact of an asteroid about 20 meters in diameter, which they point out is large enough to destroy a city. The 24-hour alert would allow the city to be evacuated.

For objects of 100 meters in diameter, capable of causing “regional destruction”, the alert is issued three weeks before the impact.

The Institute of Astronomy of the University of Hawaii highlighted that since its entry into operation last January, the South African telescope has already detected its first NEO, an asteroid called 2022 BK, about 100 meters in diameter and which, fortunately, does not represent any risk to Earth.

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