Science News

Asteroid discovered by Carnegie’s Scott Sheppard right before it zooms past Earth

Diagram showing the 2020 YE5 asteroid's Near Earth Trajectory

While surveying the sky for distant objects, astronomer Scott Sheppard discovered a new asteroid a little closer to home. Asteroid 2020 YE5 poses no immediate risk, but it will come very close to Earth. The asteroid will zoom past only 437,691 km away from Earth, almost as close as our own Moon. It will be at its nearest on Friday, January 22 at around 9:08 AM EST (14:08 UTC). According to Sheppard, someone with a good backyard telescope could catch a glimpse. 

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Why Carnegie scientists are excited to study the asteroid samples from Ryugu

Ryugu Samples from Hayabusa2, chambers  A and C

“Dirt” from the near-Earth asteroid Ryugu arrived on Earth in the wee hours of the morning on December 6, 2020, courtesy of the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) mission Hayabusa2. The capsule of Ryugu rocks is both the second and largest sample ever successfully recovered from an asteroid, and scientists at the Carnegie Science Earth and Planets Laboratory (EPL) can’t wait to pounce on it! 

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Scientists and philosopher team up, propose a new way to categorize minerals

Gem Diamonds_Shutterstock.jpg

Carnegie’s Robert Hazen and Shaunna Morrison teamed up with CU Boulder philosophy of science professor Carol Cleland to propose that scientists address this shortcoming with a new “evolutionary system” of mineral classification—one that includes historical data and reflects changes in the diversity and distribution of minerals through more than 4 billion years of Earth’s history.

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2020 Year in Review

2020 Year In Review

2020 threw us all a curveball with COVID-19, yet still, the Earth and Planets Laboratory continued to push the frontier of human knowledge despite having to cancel field trips and learn to work from home. 

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Alaska’s Islands of the Four Mountains could be single giant volcano

Aerial oblique photo of the volcanoes in the Islands of Four Mountains, Alaska. In the center is the summit of Mount Tana. Behind Tana are (left to right) Herbert, Cleveland, and Carlisle Volcanoes. USGS Photo by John Lyons, July 29, 2014.

A small group of volcanic islands in Alaska's Aleutian chain could actually be part of a single, previously unrecognized giant volcano in the same category as Yellowstone, according to work from a research team, including Carnegie’s Diana Roman, Lara Wagner, Hélène Le Mével, and Daniel Portner, as well as recently departed postdoc Helen Janiszewski (now at University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa), who will present their findings at the American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting next week.

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