The risk is increasing that Earth will be hit by an asteroid from a meteor stream known as the Taurids, informed astronomers from the Czech Academy of Sciences, today (June 6, 2017).
The team has analyzed 144 bolides – large meteors that explode in the atmosphere – from the Taurids.
The results of this important analysis helped astronomers to detect a new branch with at least two asteroids measuring 200-300 meters (220-330 yards) in diameter.
In their paper “Discovery of a new branch of the Taurid meteoroid stream as a real source of potentially hazardous bodies”, the astronomers state:
Further studies leading to better description of this real source of potentially hazardous objects, which can be large enough to cause significant regional or even continental damage on the Earth, are therefore extremely important…”
The new branch comprises objects moving together around the Sun, and the Earth encounters it once every few years for a period of about three weeks.
The asteroids are very fragile, but when they are this large they may penetrate deep into the atmosphere and pose a real threat of collision with Earth.
The study urges further research to obtain “a better description of this real source of potentially hazardous objects large enough to cause a local or even continental disaster.”
Research paper – here