Keep telling you about asteroids. They are also called minor planets. Just as all the planets in our solar system revolve around the Sun, similarly asteroids revolve around the Sun. During this time many asteroids also come close to the Earth, but in millions of years no incident of their collision with the Earth has been reported. If an asteroid collides with the Earth, it can cause great damage. Millions of years ago, the extinction of dinosaurs from our earth was due to an asteroid colliding with the earth. However, an asteroid has raised the concern of scientists. This asteroid, which is included in the category of potentially dangerous for the Earth, is rotating more rapidly every year. Researchers do not understand why this is happening.
Report According to this, the name of this asteroid is ‘3200 Phaethon’ (3200 Phaethon). It is about 5.4 kilometers wide. While circling the Sun, this asteroid reaches 20.9 million kilometers near it. This is half the distance of Mercury from the Sun. This asteroid also passes very close to the Earth. For this reason it is considered ‘potentially dangerous’. Recently, this asteroid came closest to our Earth in the year 2017. Then the distance between the two was reduced to 10.3 million km.
Now a group of researchers at the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences conference has revealed that Phaethon has an accelerating spin. The space rock takes about 3.6 hours to make one complete rotation, but each year that spin gets shortened by about 4 milliseconds. Even though this may not seem like much, but the orbit of an asteroid can change in thousands to millions of years.
Phaethon was first detected in 1983. Scientists say that it is very unusual for an asteroid to change its rotation. Phaethon is the 11th asteroid to have been observed with a quick spin. This asteroid is strange in many other respects as well. For example- It has a comet-like tail. Every year, a meteor shower is visible on Earth due to the breakup of this tail made of pieces of debris.
It is not clear why Phaethon’s rotation is accelerating. Even though its mass is decreasing due to its tail, it does not mean that its spin will change. However, researchers believe that the asteroid’s surface is being affected by solar radiation, which is changing its spin. But it is difficult to prove this fact.
Due to these things of Phaethon, Japan’s space agency has chosen it as its next target. The agency will launch a spacecraft in 2024 that will target Phaethon in 2028. Researchers have said that the new discovery related to Phaethon will be of great use for the mission of the Japanese agency.