Recently, space agencies warned us an asteroid, 2006 QV89, which was getting closer and closer to Earth in the fall. The chances to hit our planet were quite small, but every slight variation off its course and that would have been it – the end of the world.
The European Space Agency came with news a short little while ago to cool us down. Asteroid 2006 QV89 missed Earth. ESA had its telescopes on the asteroid since its discovery and, as the cosmic rock has not popped up in the sky, it can only mean that it never would.
A 13-year journey
The first time asteroid 2006 QV89 was spotted was in the summer of 2006. The asteroid was a small space object – it had around 20-50 meters in diameter.
In the 10 day period it stayed visible, astronomers from ESA hurried to gather as much data about it as they could. They calculated its dimensions, took measurements to discover its orbit. The results they came to were that 2006 QV89 had one chance in 7,000 to hit Earth in the future. They also succeeded in determining the date of the collision: 13 years later, on September 9th, 2019.
After ten days, the space rock dropped out of sight, but not out of astronomers’ minds. During the last decade the team from the European Space Agency carried forward with sky observations in the eventuality the object appeared again. As in the short observation period astronomers had not been able to calculate its orbit with accuracy, they settled on calculating the points in the sky where it would appear in the event that their predictions proved true and it was supposed to hit our home planet. The few points in the sky in which 2006 QV89 would have appeared had been observed continuously.
The Very Large Telescope in Chile examined the points on July 4th and 5th, but there was no sign of the threat. Because of that, astronomers dismissed the idea of an asteroid collision. Even though asteroid 2006 QV89 still has chances to fly near Earth, it would not pose any threat.