The biggest asteroid to move by Earth this yr will method inside some 1.25 million miles (two million kilometers) of our planet on March 21, NASA stated Thursday.
The US house company stated it can enable astronomers to get a uncommon shut take a look at an asteroid.
The asteroid, 2001 FO32, is estimated to be about 3,000 ft in diameter and was found 20 years in the past, NASA stated.
“We all know the orbital path of 2001 FO32 across the Solar very precisely,” stated Paul Chodas, director of the Middle for Close to Earth Object Research. “There is no such thing as a likelihood the asteroid will get any nearer to Earth than 1.25 million miles.”
That’s roughly 5.25 occasions the gap of the Earth from the Moon however nonetheless shut sufficient for 2001 FO32 to be categorized as a “probably hazardous asteroid.”
NASA stated 2001 FO32 will move by at about 77,000 miles per hour quicker than the velocity at which most asteroids encounter Earth.
“At present, little is understood about this object, so the very shut encounter gives an impressive alternative to be taught an amazing deal about this asteroid,” stated Lance Benner, principal scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
NASA stated astronomers hope to get a greater understanding of the asteroid’s measurement and a tough concept of its composition by finding out gentle reflecting off its floor.
“When daylight hits an asteroid’s floor, minerals within the rock take in some wavelengths whereas reflecting others,” NASA stated. “By finding out the spectrum of sunshine reflecting off the floor, astronomers can measure the chemical ‘fingerprints’ of the minerals on the floor of the asteroid.”
Newbie astronomers in some components of the globe ought to have the ability to conduct their very own observations.
“The asteroid shall be brightest whereas it strikes by means of southern skies, Chodas stated.
“Newbie astronomers within the southern hemisphere and at low northern latitudes ought to have the ability to see this asteroid utilizing reasonable measurement telescopes with apertures of at the least eight inches within the nights main as much as closest method, however they may in all probability want star charts to seek out it.”
NASA stated greater than 95 % of near-Earth asteroids the dimensions of 2001 FO32 or bigger have been catalogued and none of them has any likelihood of impacting our planet over the following century.
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