Near-Earth asteroid

Near-Earth asteroid

Fig. 13.14 . The red dot at the center of this image is the first near-Earth asteroid discovered, on 12 January 2010, with the Wide-Field Infrared Survey, abbreviated WISE, spacecraft. The asteroid is about 1 kilometer in diameter, and moves on an elliptical orbit that is inclined to the plane of our solar system. This orbit takes the asteroid beyond Mars and as close to the Sun as the Earth. The all-sky WISE infrared survey, which began on 14 January 2010, is expected to find about one hundred thousand previously undiscovered asteroids in the main belt between Mars and Jupiter, and hundreds of near-Earth asteroids. It will reveal the darkest asteroids, which donít reflect enough visible sunlight to be seen with conventional optical telescopes, but heat up and emit the infrared radiation detected from WISE. (Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA.)

Copyright 2010, Professor Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University