Here’s how you can watch the biggest asteroid of 2020 live as it zooms past the Earth
- Asteroid 1998 OR2 is scheduled to make its close approach to Earth on April 29 (April 30 IST).
- You don’t need to leave your house or even own a telescope to watch the event.
- Here’s a list of streams where you can tune in to watch the asteroid live as it flies past the planet.
The good news is that you don’t have to be an expert astronomer or scientist in order to catch the action live. In fact, you don’t even need to own a telescope.
A number of observatories are offering to stream the event live so that you don’t even have to leave the house to watch Asteroid 1998 OR 2 as it makes its close approach to Earth.
Here’s a list of live streams where you can watch the event happen:
1. The Virtual Telescope Project
The Virtual Telescope Project in Italy will be tracking the asteroid in real-time and the live stream will kick off at 12:00 am on April 30 IST.
Slooh will broadcast a live telescope view of Asteroid 1998 OR2’s approach that will kick off at 4:30am IST on April 30, which is an house before the asteroid will be at its closest point to Earth. You can tune in directly on their official website or watch via their YouTube page.
The webcast is free for all. However, they are hosting a ‘star party’ on Zoom for their paid subscribers where astronomers will answer any burgeoning questions about the asteroid event.
Before you settle in to watch the celestial event, you can learn more about it from the National Aeronautics and Space Agency’s (NASA) seminar on 1998 OR2, where they answered the common questions that people have about close approaches, asteroid and, specifically, about what’s going to happen at 1998 OR2 blows past the planet at 31,320 kilometres per hour.
The asteroid has been classified as ‘potentially hazardous’ by the Centre of Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS). This is because it’s bigger than 140 meters in size and will be under 8 million kilometres from Earth, which is enough to cause ‘global effects’ if it were to crash into the planet.
Some even believe that the asteroid knows that there’s an ongoing pandemic on the ground, which is why even though it will be 6.3 million kilometres away— 16 times further away than the Moon — it will be wearing what ‘looks like’ a mask, according to to the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.
The asteroid’s visit on April 29 will be the closest that it has been to the planet since its discovery on 24 July 1988 by NEAT at Haleakala. The only time that it will be any close will be on 16 April 2079, according to NASA’s estimates.
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