The deceptive headlines and tales reap the benefits of the phrases scientists use to speak about area objects and the connotations a few of those self-same phrases have in everyday language. For instance, the phrases “near-earth object” (NEO) and “potentially hazardous asteroid” (PHA) are astronomical terms used to categorize objects with precise definitions. If an asteroid comes in 4.6 million miles of Earth and has a sure brightness, it makes the checklist of PHAs. That is just astronomers’ method of creating a vast catalog of objects price maintaining a tally of. A no other analysis is completed of every asteroid to find out only how “probably hazardous” it’s before giving it that designation.
NEOs fall into a regular broader class. Should you had been to depart Earth and journey within the path of Mars’ orbit across the solar, then cease while you’re about 85 p.c of the best way to the Red Planet,, everything between that place and the sun may technically be thought of a NEO.
To non-scientists, it could appear unusual to name an asteroid “close to” when it is far away than any human has ever traveled, however, in fact, it makes sense when coping with the thoughts-blowing scale of the universe, as astronomers do. Similar goes for these “doubtlessly hazardous asteroids.” It is smart to name them that within the context of the hugeness of the house, though most PHAs are not potential hazards in our lifetimes.