December 27th reports on big rocks, small rocks, dust and astronauts — these are just a few of the objects that have traveled through dark space in the past year. Some objects are whistling toward the earth, but we don’t know exactly what they are every time. From pyramid-sized asteroids to black holes close to each other, the American Fun Science website published a December 23 article taking stock of ten objects that will travel through space in 2019. The article is now excerpted as follows:
NASA astronaut Jessica Mayer flies to the International Space Station on September 25, aboard a spacecraft docked at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Myer’s best friend, astronaut Christina Coker, captured a photo of Mayer’s launch in the second stage of the rocket launch at a perfect moment. “When your best friend finally fulfills her lifelong dream of going to space, that’s what it looks like from the space station,” Coker wrote on Twitter. “
Asteroids as wide as skyscrapers
In mid-September, a huge space rock skimmed the Earth, but fortunately it was about 5 million kilometers from Earth. The 2000 QW7 asteroid is 300 to 600 meters wide and skidded past our planet at a speed of 231,000 kilometers per hour. Although the asteroid poses no threat this time around, NASA has been tracking it since 2000 and will continue to track its future trajectory. The next time the asteroid will fly from Earth will be October 19, 2038.
Triple threat (but not real)
Three asteroids flew past Earth on September 9 this year, and NASA scientists initially predicted that one of them might be very close to Earth. “Very close” means the asteroid could fly about 500,000 kilometers from Earth, almost outside the moon’s orbit. These near-Earth objects all fell under the gravitational influence of nearby planets and turned to our earth. The three asteroids flew over Earth in a 12-hour window, and they all traveled far.
A comet from another galaxy?
In August, a Ukrainian astronomical observer named Gennady Borisov discovered a comet that skimmed the sky. The comet, made up of ice and dust, may have come from outside the solar system. After numerous observations, scientists named it Comet C/2019/Q4 (Comet Borisov) and tracked its course. Unlike most comets in the solar system orbiting the sun in elliptical orbits, the comet’s orbit appears to be in a hyperbolic shape. In addition to the “O’Rewe” comet discovered in October 2017, Comet Borisov may be the second interstellar object from our “cosmic neighbors.”
High-energy light released by dying stars
In January, astronomers saw the final moments of a dying star that concentrated on releasing ultra-high-energy light known as gamma-ray bursts. The gamma-ray storm occurs about 7.5 billion light-years from Earth and carries hundreds of billions of electron-volt energy from the sun’s photon energy. Although gamma-ray bursts are not uncommon, astronomers often find it difficult to capture them because the process is extremely short-lived. With the help of telescopes such as the Atmospheric GammaCherlenkov Imaging Telescope and the High-Energy Stereovision Telescope System, scientists expect more capture of the process in the future.
A giant asteroid destroyed by a dwarf star.
The only evidence of the devastating destruction of a giant asteroid is a cloud of debris orbiting a star. In 2018, a white dwarf star in our Galaxy suddenly began to get brighter and brighter, and its brightness is still growing even today. Now, scientists finally think they’ve found the cause. They reasoned that the star captured a huge asteroid in its gravitational field and tore it into pieces to form a cloud of metal fragments. The star’s light heats up the asteroid’s debris until it itself begins to glow, making the star appear brighter in its telescopes on Earth.
A near-Earth object called 2019 SX5, about the size of the Great Pyramid of Giza, recently flew over our planet. The asteroid is flying at a speed of 789,000 kilometers per hour, but fortunately it orbits about 6 million kilometers from Earth. According to current estimates, giant asteroids fly past Earth every few days – in fact, in July this year, another pyramid-sized object passed by.
“Unicorn” meteor shower
A rare event known as the “unicorn” meteor shower occurred in November, when hundreds of meteors crossed the sky. This alpha meteor shower occurs every year, but usually there are only a few meteors. This year, scientists predicted that observers might see as many as 1,000 meteors illuminate the sky near the unicorn constellation, so the playful name is given. The meteors were originally formed by the dust tail of a comet that occasionally tilted closer to Earth. The closer a comet gets to Earth, the more meteors it will form.
Collision black hole
Three supermassive black holes about a billion light-years from Earth are steadily moving closer to each other, and one day they are likely to collide. These supermassive black holes are located at the center of three merging galaxies, sucking dust and gas from around them. Currently, black holes are between 10,000 and 30,000 light-years apart, but scientists predict that they will eventually merge like their parent galaxies.
Unidentified fireballs over Chile and China
In September, mysterious bright objects fell from the Chilean sky, and officials aren’t sure exactly what the UFO was or where it came from. Based on a geological survey of the location of the falling object, experts determined that the fireballs may not have been meteorites, but rather falling space debris. A month later, an object, believed to be a meteor, burned over northeastern China, shining the midnight sky as bright as daylight. According to local news reports, the fireball cast a shadow over the ground as it flew over the sky.