Wide Field Telescope Discovers Two Near-Earth Asteroids

Wide Field Telescope Discovers Two Near-Earth Asteroids

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – China's telescope with the capability to survey the entire Northern Hemisphere's sky has identified two near-Earth asteroids, astronomers report.

Discovered on November 18, the celestial bodies were detected by the Wide Field Survey Telescope (WFST), operational since September 2023 in northwest China's Qinghai Province. The Minor Planet Center, under the International Astronomical Union, officially confirmed the findings, designating the asteroids as 2023 WX1 and 2023 WB2.

2023 WX1, with an estimated diameter of 170 meters, falls under the category of Potentially Hazardous Asteroid, as it possesses an "Earth Minimum Orbit Intersection Distance of 0.0416 astronomical units," equivalent to 6.22 million km, astronomers highlighted in a statement on Wednesday.

The WFST, measuring 2.5 meters in diameter, is a collaborative effort between the University of Science and Technology of China and the Purple Mountain Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Dubbed Mozi in 2022 after the ancient Chinese philosopher Mozi, also known as Micius, the telescope is recognized as the first in history to conduct optical experiments.

A primary objective of the telescope is to survey objects within the solar system. Zhao Haibin, head of the WFST solar system bodies study program, shared that astronomers using the telescope have already identified a new group of main-belt asteroids and rediscovered several near-Earth asteroids.

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