The area in the skies where astronomers would have spotted the asteroid 2006 QV89 if it to be on a collision course through Earth, v the three crosses marking the specific locations. (Image credit: ESO)
A perhaps hazardous asteroid that had actually a tiny chance of smashing into earth this September isn"t heading for our planet after all.

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Astronomers ruled the end the asteroid"s opportunity of impact with earth after lock were not able to spot it in ~ the area of its predicted collision course, making it the very first time an asteroid affect was rule out based upon "non-detection."

The asteroid, called 2006 QV89, was uncovered on Aug. 29, 2006 by the Catalina sky Survey close to Tucson, Arizona. That measures between 70 come 160 feet (20 to 50 meters) in diameter, or somewhere between the size of a bowling alley and also the broad of a football field. Observations argued that it had a one-in-7,000 possibility of impacting earth on Sept. 9, 2019.

After its discovery in 2016, the asteroid to be observed for 10 days prior to disappearing native the astronomers" sight, according to a explain by the European southern Observatory (ESO). Together the day for the potential collision approached, astronomers might only guess the place of the asteroid with really low accuracy, which do it daunting to situate with a telescope.

In bespeak to confirm whether or not the asteroid was still headed for collision with Earth, astronomers in ~ the European Agency (ESA) and ESO took a different approach. Quite than trying to watch the asteroid itself, astronomers observed wherein it should have been if that were, in fact, heading toward Earth.

Using ESO"s Very huge Telescope (VLT), they caught deep pictures of the area where it would have been if it were on track to collide with our planet, ESO officials said in the statement. Following observations that the area top top July 4-5, astronomers might not find the asteroid and also therefore concluded the it would not it is in impacting Earth.

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Even if the asteroid is smaller sized than originally believed, that would have actually been spotted by the telescope, ESO claimed in the statement. And also if that were any smaller than that — too small for the telescope come detect — it would certainly pose no danger to Earth, together it would burn up in the planet"s atmosphere.

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