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The Asteroid

Speediest Orbiting Asteroid Found in the Solar System

A recently found asteroid is orbiting our solar at a far closer distance than our own planet Earth. The asteroid, identified as 2021 PH27, passes within 12.4 million miles (20 million kilometers) and orbits the sun every 113 days.

This space rock has the lowest known orbital period for an asteroid – and only the second shortest orbit around the sun after Mercury, which takes 88 days to complete its orbital voyage around our star.

Scott Sheppard, an astronomer at the Carnegie Institution for Science, discovered the asteroid on August 13 during twilight observations by Brown University astronomers Ian Dell’Antonio and Shenming Fu. Dell’Antonio, a physics professor, and Fu, a PhD student, took the images using the Dark Energy Camera, which was mounted atop the Victor M. At Cerro Tololo Internacional, they also employed the Blanco 4-meter Telescope.