NASA photos reveal ‘hazardous’ 4 mile-wide astroid has mysterious ‘heart of darkness’


NASA photos reveal ‘hazardous’ 4 mile-wide astroid has mysterious ‘heart of darkness’

A HUGE asteroid that could potentially smash into Earth has a mysterious “dark void” at its centre.

By
Rachel O’Donoghue

/


The space rock – called 3200 Phaethon – is being monitored by the US space agency after it was described as “potentially hazardous”.

It whizzed by so close to Earth over Christmas, space boffins were able to snap high-resolution images of its inside.

And what they captured is a mystery.

The radar images reveal the asteroid is utterly empty on the inside – a space measuring hundreds of metres.


NASA asteroid



GETTY

VOID: The astroid has a mysterious dark space right in its centre

EPIC apocalyptic asteroid impact craters

 

Conspiracy theorists claim the Earth is due a direct hit with an asteroid. Here’s some extraordinary impact craters caused by alien objects
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A satellite image of eastern Russia's Lake El'gygytgyn, which sits inside a small asteroid impact crater
Getty Images

Eastern Russia’s Lake El’gygytgyn, which sits inside a small asteroid impact crater


The most powerful astronomical radar system on our planet recently provided the highest-resolution images to date of a near-Earth asteroid, 3200 Phaethon, during its Dec. close approach to Earth, ~1.1 million miles away: https://t.co/h1DhS6t9xY pic.twitter.com/XGziN6vtBn

— NASA (@NASA) December 23, 2017


“A crater or some other topographic depression that did not reflect the radar beam back to Earth”

Patrick Taylor, NASA

NASA said the tennis ball-shaped rock “has a large concavity, or depression, at least several hundred meters in extent near its equator, and a conspicuous dark, circular feature near one of the poles.”

3200 Phaethon has been on experts’ radars since the the 1980s and is the second largest asteroid close to Earth that has been described as “potentially hazardous”.

This is because of its sheer size and closeness to the planet.

The newest pictures, which were taken when it was just 6.4 million miles away from Earth, of the asteroid reveal it is approximately 3.6 miles wide.

Patrick Taylor a scientist at Arecibo Observatory, which is monitoring the space rock, said the dark void at Phaethon’s centre might be “a crater or some other topographic depression that did not reflect the radar beam back to Earth.”

Top Facts About Asteroids

 

Asteroids are small, rocky objects that orbit the Sun. The first asteroid was Ceres, discovered by Giuseppe Piazzi in 1801. There are currently over 600,000 known asteroids in our solar system. Most asteroids are found orbiting in the Asteroid Belt, a series of rings located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
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There are Millions of Asteroids in the solar system, usually found in the Asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, however those in that pass the Earth are called Near-Earth objects
Getty Images

There are Millions of Asteroids in the solar system, usually found in the Asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, however those in that pass the Earth are called Near-Earth objects


NASA recently revealed a huge astroid shaped like a human skull  would fly past Earth.

The vast object – which measures a whopping 500m wide – will pass our planet at 78,000mph in November next year.

Asteroid 2015 TB145 has been monitored since it had a near miss two years ago.

It zipped past as Brits went trick-or-treating on October 31, 2015, relatively close to Earth at 486,000km away – 1.3 times the distance to the moon.

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