Astronomers at the California Institute of Technology have made an interesting discovery using the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF). ZTF is a measurement camera based on the Paloma Observatory. Researchers used it to discover a new asteroid, called 2020 AV2, which orbits Venus entirely. Scientists say the only way the asteroid would be to get out of its current orbit is to be thrown out of its current orbit by encountering the gravitational pull of Mercury and Venus.
Scientists say the asteroid will eventually hit Mercury or Venus. In 2020 AV2 will be attributed to the Atiras asteroid, and more specifically, it is the first Atiras asteroid to be found completely in Venus’ orbit. ZTF cameras are particularly good at finding asteroids because they can quickly scan the entire sky. Its speed allows it to capture asteroids when they appear briefly at night. The orbit of the Atiras asteroid is so close to the sun that it can only be seen at dusk or dawn. 2020 AV2 is the third Atiras asteroid discovered by ZTF as part of the Twilight program.
The asteroid is 1 to 3 kilometers long and has an orbit about 15 degrees in orbit relative to the plane of the solar system. It takes 151 days to circle the sun, and it always orbits Venus’ internal orbit. Closest to the sun, it is close to Mercury’s orbit. Scientists believe that the encounter with Venus may have led to the asteroid’s orbit.