‘Planet Killer’ Asteroid Spotted

This illustration made available by Johns Hopkins APL and NASA depicts NASA's DART probe, center, and Italian Space Agency's (ASI) LICIACube, bottom right, at the Didymos system before impact with the asteroid Dimorphos, left. DART is expected to zero in on the asteroid Monday, Sept. 26, 2022, intent on slamming it head-on at 14,000 mph. The impact should be just enough to nudge the asteroid into a slightly tighter orbit around its companion space rock. (Steve Gribben/Johns Hopkins APL/NASA via AP)

At a glance

  • The asteroids belong to a group found within the orbits of Earth and Venus. Still, they’re tough to observe because the sun’s brightness shields them from telescope observations.
  • To avoid the sun’s glare, astronomers leaped at the chance to conduct their observations during the brief window of twilight.
  • An international team spied the space rocks using the Dark Energy Camera on the Víctor M. Blanco 4-meter Telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile.

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