Arecibo Observatory, considered potentially dangerous asteroid Phaethon

After a few months of inactivity due to the hurricane "Maria" main radio telescope Arecibo Observatory and one of the most powerful telescopes in the world has returned to its normal schedule of work and has already managed to get the best at the moment pictures near-Earth asteroid 3200 Phaethon, presumably considered the source of one of the most powerful meteor showers - the Geminids.

Arecibo Observatory, considered potentially dangerous asteroid Phaethon

The images obtained show that the asteroid has a spheroidal shape, and on its surface a large concavity size of at least several hundred meters, which is presumably a crater formed by a collision with an asteroid some more compact celestial body. Observations of the asteroid were held December 17, 2017 with a resolution of 75 meters per pixel.

Arecibo Observatory, considered potentially dangerous asteroid Phaethon

"The new observations show the similarity of the Phaeton in the form of an asteroid Bennu, is the aim of the spacecraft OSIRIS-Rex, belonging to the space agency NASA. But this asteroid is about 10 times larger than the last, "- says Patrick Taylor, head of planetary exploration, the Arecibo Observatory.

"Dimming on the surface of the asteroid impact crater can be, or some other form of topographic depression, but find it most certainly is not yet possible, as this area does not reflect our telescope signal".

New pictures taken Arecibo Observatory also said that the diameter of the Phaeton is about 6 kilometers, which is about 1 kilometer more than the earlier calculations. The asteroid is the second largest near-Earth object, falling under the classification "potentially dangerous". The level of this risk is determined not only by the size, but also the trajectory of the orbits of these celestial bodies relative to the Earth.

Arecibo Observatory, considered potentially dangerous asteroid Phaethon

The asteroid Phaethon was first discovered 11 October 1983 infrared observatory orbiting IRAS. Last observation carried object Arecibo Observatory from 15 th to 19 th December 2017. At the time the nearest location relative to the Earth asteroid was at a distance of 10 million kilometers, which is about 26 8 times greater than the distance from Earth to the Moon. The closest approximation of an asteroid with the Earth is not expected before 2093.

Arecibo Observatory has one of the most powerful astronomical radar systems in the world. As a result of the hurricane category 4, the strongest on the island since 1928, the radio telescope suffered minor structural damage. A few days after the cyclone passed, he resumed radio astronomy observations, however, planetary radar observations, requiring higher power and the use of diesel generators, the observatory staff were able to recover only in early December.

"The unique capabilities of the Arecibo is a very important research tool for all Astronomical Society, as well as a critical part of the planetary security," - he said Joan Schmelz, served as director of the Arecibo Observatory.

"We have made every effort to return the radio telescope back in operation after the devastating hurricane," Mary ", which was held over Puerto Rico."

Telescope Arecibo Observatory is used to monitor hundreds of different asteroids. When these small natural objects remaining after the formation of our solar system, are relatively close to Earth, the radar system overview distant space best suited for the study of their size, shape, surface, density, and to more accurately calculate their orbital paths.