The biggest asteroid of 2020 will zoom past Earth on April 29 — adhering to 'social distancing' and even wearing a mask
biggest asteroid of 2020— Asteroid 52768 (1998 OR2) — didn’t get the memo that Earth is under lockdown.
- It will be zooming past the planet on April 29.
- It will be 6.3 million kilometres from Earth, which is the closest that it’s come to the planet since it was discovered in 1998.
According to astronomers at the
And, it will remain 6.3 million kilometres away— 16 times further away than the Moon — at its closest approach to Earth.
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.
Wow. Asteroid 1998 OR2 tumbling through space seen by the Arecibo observatory.They confirm the space rock is ~ 2… https://t.co/FftLbcbqbe— ESA Operations (@esaoperations) 1587731201000
However, an analysis by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Asteroid Watch shows it has no plans of actually breaching the Earth’s atmosphere.
Have you been hearing about asteroid 1998 OR2’s close approach on April 29? Rest assured that this asteroid will sa… https://t.co/VspuLPMqJU— NASA Asteroid Watch (@AsteroidWatch) 1586888870000
“The small-scale topographic features such as hills and ridges on one end of
#TeamRadar and the @NAICobservatory staff are taking the proper safety measures as we continue observations. This w… https://t.co/GtlWyHbg2H— Arecibo Radar (@AreciboRadar) 1587248883000
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.
“In 2079, asteroid 1998 OR2 will pass Earth about 3.5 times closer than it will this year, so it is important to know its orbit precisely,” said Flaviane Venditti, another research scientists at the Arecibo Observatory.
“Although this asteroid is not projected to impact Earth, it is important to understand the characteristics of these types of objects to improve impact-risk mitigation technologies,” Virkki added.
Until the Apophis or 'God of Chaos' asteroid comes around on 2029 or Asteroid 2011 UL 21 passes by in 2024, the upcoming trip of 1998 OR 2 will be the most significant of the decade.
The 10 biggest asteroids that pose a threat to Earth in 2020
There are 19 interstellar asteroids between Jupiter and Neptune — and even computers can’t predict where they are headed
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