[Svetlo]CCNet - 2002 June 11

Milos Tichy
Tue, 11 Jun 2002 20:54:38 +0000 (GMT)

Poznamka o svetelnem znecisteni v zakone v Cechach na CCNetu
v zajimave souvislosti:

CCNet 67/2002 - 11 June 2002



>From Radio Praha, 10 June 2002

Czech astronomers discover new asteroid 

[10-06-2002] By Pavla Horakova Listen 
Czech astronomers have made a number of important discoveries recently.
Earlier this year they discovered a Nova, which is a star temporarily
emitting a great amount of energy and light, and solved a question which was
puzzling astronomers around the world, that is whether one very bright
object was or was not actually two stars. Several days ago, an unknown
asteroid was observed from the Klet observatory in South Bohemia. More from
Pavla Horakova. 

Astronomers Milos Tichy and his wife Jana who work at the Klet observatory
discovered an unknown asteroid moving close to the earth last week. The
object, about 70 metres in diameter, passed our planet at a distance of 3.5
million kilometres, which is relatively close by astronomical standards. We
know of around 900 such objects, known as near-earth asteroids. They present
a potential threat to the earth because they interfere with the earth's
orbit. The one discovered last week has a similar size to the object which
caused the Tunguz catastrophe in Siberia in 1908. Czech observatories
participate in a joint programme of monitoring these near-earth asteroids.
Petr Harmanec is the director of the Astronomical Institute of Charles

"This programme has immediate consequences for people. In case there is
indeed some large asteroid which could one day fall into the earth's
atmosphere, this would be a catastrophe of global proportions. If this
monitoring allowed us to know the exact orbit of such a body well in
advance, the present rocket technology would allow us probably to do
something against it. It means to change the trajectory of such a body when
it is still far away from the earth. You know that one satellite was sent to
the Eros asteroid and which then became an artificial satellite of this
asteroid, therefore the technology is indeed there." 

The discovery made by the Tichys was confirmed on the same night by
astronomers from New Zealand and Canada. The asteroid was given the
international designation 2002 LK and is now moving safely away from the
earth. Czech astronomers are celebrating their new success and they hope the
new law reducing light pollution in the country will help to improve
conditions for observing and thus enable more such discoveries. 


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