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The team at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico jumped into action when an asteroid appeared in the sky.

The asteroid was coming from Earth's blind spot after the radar scientists got an alert. They had 30 minutes to get as many readings as possible. She'd only have it when it was travelling so fast. The Arecibo Observatory is managed by the University of Central Florida.

The asteroid made headlines because it looked like it came out of nowhere.

Just a few weeks before the world observes Asteroid Day, which is June 30 and promotes global awareness to help educate the public about these potential threats, the findings of Zambrano-Marin were published in the planetary science journal.

It was a real challenge according to a planetary scientist from the University of Central Florida. We had very little time to act because no one saw it until it was close by. We were able to get a lot of important information.

The asteroid was between.06 and.06 miles in diameter and was moving quickly. It was rotating for a while. It's part of a small group of fast rotating asteroids. The researchers think this group needs more attention.

The data shows that the asteroid is likely a C-type, which are made up of clay and silicate rocks, or S-type, which are made up of silicate and nickel- iron. Some of the oldest asteroids in our solar system are C- type. The second most common type are S-types.

She is looking at the data collected through Arecibo's Planetary Radar database. The observatory's telescope collapsed in 2020, but the existing data bank can still be accessed. In the areas of space and atmospheric sciences, the staff is continuing with astronomy research.

New data from other observatories can be used to compare observations made over the past 40 years. If we needed to protect the planet, the radar data could give us insights into appropriate deflection techniques.

According to the Center for Near Earth Studies, there are almost 30,000 known asteroids and while few pose an immediate threat, there is a chance one of larger sizes could hit the earth and cause catastrophic damage. NASA keeps a close watch on objects once they're found. NASA and other space agencies have launched missions to explore Near- Earth Asteroids to better understand what they are made of and how they move in anticipation of having to divert one heading for earth in the future.

The sample of asteroid Bennu will be sent back to Earth by the OSIRIS REx mission, which includes a professor of physics. The first time Bennu was seen was in 1999. The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission aims to demonstrate the ability to re-direct an asteroid using a projectile. The Dimorphos asteroid is expected to be reached by the spaceship on September 26, 2022.

The team at Arecibo is trying to give the scientific community more information about asteroids in the solar system in order to come up with contingency plans.

More information: Luisa Fernanda Zambrano-Marin et al, Radar and Optical Characterization of Near-Earth Asteroid 2019 OK, The Planetary Science Journal (2022). DOI: 10.3847/PSJ/ac63cd Journal information: The Planetary Science Journal