Found! Fastest-Orbiting Asteroid Zips Around Sun in Just 165 Days


The orbit of the asteroid 2019 AQ3 is shown in this diagram. The object has the shortest year of any recorded asteroid, with an orbital period of just 165 Earth days. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Astronomers have just found an asteroid that zips around the sun every 165 Earth days.

By Mike Wall | SPACE.com

That’s the shortest year for any asteroid known to humankind, discovery team members said. And the space rock, called 2019 AQ3, could be part of a vast and virtually unknown population zooming through the inner solar system, quite close to the sun.

„We have found an extraordinary object whose orbit barely strays beyond Venus‘ orbit — that’s a big deal,“ Quanzhi Ye, a postdoctoral researcher at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC), an astronomy data and science facility at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, said in a statement. [Watch: Asteroid 2019 AQ3’s Superfast Orbit Around the Sun]

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