Virtual Telescope Project confirms 2020 AV2— the first asteroid found to move entirely inside the orbit of Venus

Space
Virtual Telescope Project confirms 2020 AV2— the first asteroid found to move entirely inside the orbit of Venus
Asteroid 2020 AV2: 8 Jan. 2020. Credit: Virtual Telescope Project

Gianluca Masi, an astrophysicist working on the Virtual Telescope Project,which he founded, has announced the confirmation of 2020 AV2—the first asteroid orbiting entirely within the orbit of Venus. Masi describes on the Virtual Telescope Project web page the discovery by a team at the Zwicky Transient Facility and his confirmation of its orbit.

Masi reports that the asteroid was first spotted by a team at the Palomar Transient Factory on January 4 of this year. A team at the Minor Planet Center, which had temporarily named it ZTF09k5, publicly posted the finding.

Intrigued by the finding, Masi set himself the task of confirming the find because its preliminary orbit indicated it never moved out of Venus’ path. After waiting for , Masi scheduled time on a telescope in Ceccano, Italy—a member of the Virtual Telescope Project. He was able to program a remote-controlled unit on the telescope called “Elena,” which allowed him to use the over the Internet for 30 minutes.

Masi notes that the process of photographing the asteroid was difficult because it was low in the sky, and the sky was not very dark due to a full moon. Making things even more difficult was its path down toward the horizon.

Despite the difficulty, Masi reports that he was able to capture multiple images of the asteroid, which he combined to account for the object’s motion. Once he had a finished photograph in hand, he sent it to the Minor Planet Center. Several hours later, his confirmation was posted on the Minor Planet Center circular with its new name: 2020 AV2. At that point, he was free to post his findings, including the combined photograph, on the Virtual Telescope Project web page. Masi and the team at Minor Planet Center also confirmed that 2020 AV2’s orbit was completely inside Venus’ —the only known such asteroid. He notes that it also has the smallest known aphelion distance in the other than Mercury.

Virtual Telescope Project confirms 2020 AV2— the first asteroid found to move entirely inside the orbit of Venus
The orbit of 2020 AV2. Credit: Virtual Telescope Project


Explore further

Newly found asteroid to pass within Moon’s orbit on March 4, 2013


More information:
www.virtualtelescope.eu/2020/0 … an-mage-08-jan-2020/

© 2020 Science X Network

Citation:
Virtual Telescope Project confirms 2020 AV2— the first asteroid found to move entirely inside the orbit of Venus (2020, January 13)
retrieved 13 January 2020
from https://phys.org/news/2020-01-virtual-telescope-av2-asteroid-orbit.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Articles You May Like

For hottest planet, a major meltdown, study shows
Firefly suffers anomaly during launch vehicle test
Scientists take the first step towards extending the Standard Model in physics
Australia fires speed global CO2 level rise: UK Met Office
14th-Century Steam Bath Found in Mexico City