“Planet Killer” asteroids could one day impact Earth. Astronomers have recently found three asteroids named 2021 LJ4, 2021 PH27, and 2022 AP7, according to a study published in The Astronomical Journal.
2021 PH27 and 2022 AP7 were labeled “planet killers.” If an asteroid is larger than 1 kilometer, over 3,200 feet, it is considered a “planet killer.”
Scott Sheppard is the lead author of this study, and so far, there have been about 1,000 asteroids that are about 1 kilometer floating through space.
“Because they are larger than about 1 km in size, which, if they hit the Earth, would create a mass extinction event as the atmosphere would be covered in dust for years afterward,” according to Sheppard.
“We expect there are some 10 to 50 asteroids of 1 km or so in size that have yet to be discovered,” Sheppard added
2022 AP7, according to Sheppard, has the greatest potential to cross paths with Earth, but that likely will not happen
The Dark Energy Camera is the camera that astronomers used to spot the “planet killer” asteroids. Sheppard said, “the camera itself is as big as a small car.”