back to article Solar System's fastest-orbiting asteroid spotted, flies closer to the Sun than Mercury

Astronomers have discovered the Sun's fastest-orbiting asteroid yet, a one-kilometre-wide rock that completes a lap of our star every 113 Earth days. That's "the shortest orbital period of any known asteroid in the Solar System," according to the US National Science Foundation's NOIRLab. The space boulder, known as 2021 PH27 …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I had asteroids once

    The Doctor gave me this cream…

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I had asteroids once

      Don't you mean assteroids?

      1. Eclectic Man Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: I had asteroids once: ASIDE

        As an aside, if you want to avoid haemorrhoids / piles you can try defecating with your knees raised above the level of your hips. The western toilet that has people sitting rather than squatting means that the anatomy of the rectum has muscles that impede the faces leaving the body causing pressure on the sphincter.

        You can just get a footstool to rest your feet on when you defecate. It seems that people who squat to defecate have much lower incidence of piles than those who sit.

        https://journals.lww.com/ajg/fulltext/2010/10001/squatting__a_forgotten_natural_instinct_to_prevent.387.aspx

        Here endeth the lesson.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: I had asteroids once: ASIDE

          Having muscles in your rectum to impede faces leaving the body seems like a reasonable idea.

          Are they quite small faces? Do they cause an Itchycoo on a lazy sunday?

          1. Eclectic Man Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: I had asteroids once: ASIDE

            Well, you've heard of 'brown-nosing', haven't you?

            (OK, I admit to a typo, "faces" should read "faeces" in my previous posting.

            Jeez, you folks are sooo picky!)

            1. Youngone Silver badge

              Re: I had asteroids once: ASIDE

              Jeez, you folks are sooo picky!)

              Says the bloke who typed out a whole lecture about the best method of pooing! :-)

              1. adam 40 Silver badge

                Re: I had asteroids once: ASIDE

                And we prefer to work it out with a pencil....

  2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Boffins ponder where Usain Bolt of space rocks came from

    They've found Russell's Teapot.

  3. Dr Paul Taylor

    No, Russell's Teapot orbits between Earth and Mars. This is Vulcan. which is actually more important in the history of science.

    1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

      Are you sure it is not Icarus?

      Oh, hang on, that name is already taken:

      "1566 Icarus, provisional designation 1949 MA, is an extremely eccentric asteroid, approximately 1.4 km (0.87 mi) in diameter. It is a near-Earth object of the Apollo group and the lowest numbered potentially hazardous asteroid. In 1968, it became the first asteroid ever observed by radar. Its orbit brings it closer to the Sun than Mercury and further out than the orbit of Mars, which also makes it a Mercury-, Venus-, and Mars-crosser. This stony asteroid and relatively fast rotator was discovered by German astronomer Walter Baade at the Palomar Observatory, California, on 27 June 1949. It was named after the mythological Icarus."

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1566_Icarus

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        There's even an A C Clarke story about it. In audio form, in case you're back to commuting now :-)

        1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

          re: Summertime on Icarus

          Dear Mr Brown,

          I no longer commute. I am a 'gentleman of leisure'*.

          Now that you mention it, I do remember reading "Summertime on Icarus" many years ago. Thanks for the reminder.

          *Also known as 'unemployed', 'unemployable' or, in my case, 'retired' (but not yet 'sponging off the state').

  4. MarkET

    High speed, low mass

    Probably Elon's car come back. Battery flat.

  5. devin3782

    Dark Energy Camera, that's defiantly something a bond villain would have invented

  6. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921 Bronze badge

    It's either Sun poo or the remains of the interstellar seed bank which kickstarted life on Earth, sent by aliens from far far away, long long ago, from a galaxy far far away...

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      or Rama. 1,2 or 3, I forget now, lost count :-)

    2. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

      I'd say that's a Very Fast Picket.

  7. sitta_europea Silver badge

    The claim that this is one of the fastest asteroids yet discovered seems unsubstantiated, although the period of its orbit around the sun is indeed short.

    By my calculations its average speed around the path of its orbit is in the region of 31km/s - about the same as that of the earth - and well short of that of many bodies in the solar system. Mercury for example clocks in at 48km/s, and sun-grazing comets can reach over 500km/s at perihelion.

    Relative to the cosmic microwave background, the solar system toddles along at a sedate 600km/s.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      I think the previously fastest sun orbiting asteroid was 165 days. 2019 AQ3

    2. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      "unsubstantiated"

      We're talking about orbital period. It's said to be the fastest-orbiting asteroid. It gets around the Sun in 113 days, fewer than any other asteroid in our neck of the woods, apparently.

      PH27 is described as "an asteroid with the shortest orbital period of any known asteroid in the Solar System."

      C.

    3. the small snake
      Boffin

      The interesting thing is likely velocity at perihelion: faster it is, better test of GR.

  8. Foxglove

    Are they sure it's not a Droplet?

  9. AlanSh

    How fast is fast?

    But how fast is it actually going? I'd like to know.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: How fast is fast?

      About 34km/s or 77000 mph, give or take depending on where it is on its orbit. Because Kepler.

    2. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: How fast is fast?

      By fastest, we mean: its orbital period, at 113 days.

      No other asteroid gets around the Sun in fewer days, according to the academics involved: PH27 is "an asteroid with the shortest orbital period of any known asteroid in the Solar System."

      C.

  10. aregross
    Thumb Up

    It was Oumuamua...

    ... tossing out it's garbage on the way by.

  11. Sleep deprived
    Happy

    This asteroid is clearly alien to our solar system

    Obvious from the article: this asteroid travels in kilometres while planets travel in miles

    1. adam 40 Silver badge

      Re: This asteroid is clearly alien to our solar system

      Maybe we should name it:

      Barnier

  12. MacroRodent Silver badge
    WTF?

    Relativity

    This I find puzzling:

    Article: "Since PH27 lives so close to the Sun, and has a relatively low mass, it experiences general relativistic effects more so than any other known Solar System object,"

    Why should the mass matter for relativistic effects? As we all know, gravity affects a feather and a hammer the same way (in the absence of air friction).

    1. Eclectic Man Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Relativity

      MacroRodent: "Why should the mass matter for relativistic effects? As we all know, gravity affects a feather and a hammer the same way (in the absence of air friction)."

      It is maybe the mass of the asteroid relative to the mass of the sun.

      1. MacroRodent Silver badge

        Re: Relativity

        Objects of various masses would orbit just the same way, except for something so massive it would affect the Sun's movement. Because of the large mass of the Sun, that would require something like a major planet to have any noticeable effect.

    2. the small snake
      Boffin

      Re: Relativity

      As other commenter said it is mass relative to mass of Sun which is interesting. if object is very light compared to Sun then is better treatable as 'test particle' orbiting in unperturbed Schwarzschild solution which it is too light to perturb. In fact in case of something where there are other massive objects (mostly Jupiter, although there are some other planets they say) probably you might need to treat perturbation of Schwarzschild by those massive objects, but still the test particle itself can be treated as not perturbing solution: it is just travelling on geodesic in existing field.

      Remember that GR corrections to Newtonian gravity are very small: historically not detectable apart from Mercury although I believe now can be measured for even Earth. So very small perturbations in Sun's field can't be thrown out or you would throw out baby with bathwater.

  13. ThatOne Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Deja Vu

    > one-kilometre-wide rock [...] collision with Mercury or Venus

    There go the Mercurian or Venusian dinosaurs...

    1. the small snake
      Alien

      Re: Deja Vu

      Mercury and Venus dinosaurs (of which are many) laugh in face of mere asteroid impacts. Ejection of magma etc provides valuable nutrition.

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