No Belt Can Contain This Asteroid!

Listen 7:15
Image: NASA/SOFIA/Lynette Cook

Image: NASA/SOFIA/Lynette Cook

There’s the asteroid belt that we all know between Mars and Jupiter; there’s the Kuiper Belt out beyond Neptune, the most famous inhabitant of which is Pluto; but did you know about the asteroid that orbits the Sun inside the orbit of Venus?
2020 AV2 is one of a group of 21 asteroids that orbit inside Earth’s orbit – that is between the Earth and the Sun and 2020 AV2 orbits inside Venus’ orbit, the only one discovered so far to do so. The whole group is called Atiras or IEO’s – interior earth objects. 2020 AV2 takes 151 days to orbit the Sun. Eventually, it’ll crash into Venus or Mercury (but not Earth).

We’ve gained 36 minutes of daylight since the Winter Solstice. Another five hours will be added by the time of the Summer Solstice.

Sober astronomical anniversaries of note this week: The Apollo 1 fire was 53 years ago Monday and the Challenger explosion was 34 years ago Tuesday.

Venus can be spotted after sunset in the Southwest; the moon slides past Monday into Tuesday. Mars and Jupiter are now in the 6:15 am-6:30 am Eastern viewing window!

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