An asteroid as extensive because the Golden Gate Bridge is lengthy will hurtle previous Earth subsequent month. However though it will likely be the most important and speediest asteroid to fly by our planet this yr, there is no cause to panic.
The area rock, formally referred to as 231937 (2001 FO32), is about 0.5 to 1 mile (0.eight to 1.7 kilometers) in diameter and can come inside 1.25 million miles (2 million kilometers) of Earth at 11:03 a.m. EST (1603 GMT) on March 21 — shut sufficient and huge sufficient to be categorised as “probably hazardous,” according to a database revealed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
An asteroid is designated as “probably hazardous” when its orbit intersects with Earth’s at a distance of not more than about 4.65 million miles (7.5 million km) and it’s larger than about 500 ft (140 meters) in diameter, according to NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS).
Small asteroids go between Earth and the moon a number of occasions a month, and their fragments enter and break up in Earth’s ambiance virtually day by day, according to NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO).
Telescopes in New Mexico which might be a part of the Lincoln Close to-Earth Asteroid Analysis (LINEAR) program — an MIT Lincoln Laboratory program funded by the U.S. Air Pressure and NASA — detected the asteroid on March 23, 2001, in accordance with EarthSky. Observatories have monitored it ever since. Scientists used these observations to calculate the asteroid’s orbit and decide how shut the area rock will come to Earth when it whizzes by at virtually 77,000 mph (124,000 km/h).
No recognized asteroid poses a major threat to Earth for the subsequent 100 years. The present largest recognized risk is an asteroid referred to as (410777) 2009 FD, which has a 1 in 714 (lower than 0.2%) probability of hitting Earth in 2185, according to NASA’s PDCO.
NASA is finding out strategies of deflecting asteroids that do find yourself on a collision course with Earth, similar to through the use of the gravity of a flying spacecraft to slowly pull asteroids off their trajectory to a protected distance, according to NASA’s PDCO.
When you’ve got a telescope with an aperture of not less than eight inches (20 centimeters), you may be capable of spot the fast-moving area rock, in accordance with EarthSky. To catch a glimpse within the southern U.S., level your telescope south-southeast between the constellations of Sagittarius and Corona Australis at 4:45 a.m. EST on March 20.
Initially revealed on Stay Science.