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Potentially hazardous asteroid spotted by NASA, UW scanner in Hawaii

A new NASA-funded scanner recently captured its first ‘potentially hazardous’ asteroid, researchers said.

The nearly 600-foot-long asteroid, dubbed 2022 SF289, was discovered during a test drive of next generation algorithm using the Atlas Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) in Hawaii, the University of Washington reported.

ATLAS is an early warning system developed by the University of Hawaii and funded by NASA. The system consists of four telescopes (two in Hawaii, one in Chile and one in South Africa) which automatically scan the sky several times each night looking for moving objects.

This image shows the orbit of the asteroid known as 2022 SF289 in green at its closest approach to Earth shown in blue. Orbits of Venus and Mars are shown in orange and red, respectively.

The algorithm was designed to find near-Earth asteroids for the Vera C. Rubin Observatory’s upcoming 10-year survey of the sky.

The asteroid, researchers said, poses no risk to Earth “for the foreseeable future.”

The finding confirms the next-generation algorithm, called HelioLinc3D, can identify the near-Earth rocky bodies “with fewer and more dispersed observations than required by today’s methods.”

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