The most important asteroid to move by Earth this 12 months will method inside some 1.25 million miles (two million kilometers) of our planet on March 21, NASA mentioned Thursday.
The US area company mentioned it can permit astronomers to get a uncommon shut have 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 mentioned.
“We all know the orbital path of 2001 FO32 across the Solar very precisely,” mentioned Paul Chodas, director of the Heart for Close to Earth Object Research. “There isn’t any 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 mentioned 2001 FO32 will move by at about 77,000 miles per hour quicker than the pace at which most asteroids encounter Earth.
“Presently, little is thought about this object, so the very shut encounter offers an excellent alternative to be taught an awesome deal about this asteroid,” mentioned Lance Benner, principal scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
“When daylight hits an asteroid’s floor, minerals within the rock take up some wavelengths whereas reflecting others,” NASA mentioned. “By learning 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 be capable to conduct their very own observations.
“The asteroid can be brightest whereas it strikes by southern skies, Chodas mentioned.
“Newbie astronomers within the southern hemisphere and at low northern latitudes ought to be capable to see this asteroid utilizing average measurement telescopes with apertures of at the very least eight inches within the nights main as much as closest method, however they are going to most likely want star charts to search out it.”
NASA mentioned greater than 95 % of near-Earth asteroids the scale of 2001 FO32 or bigger have been catalogued and none of them has any likelihood of impacting our planet over the subsequent century.
© 2021 AFP
Giant asteroid to move by Earth on March 21: NASA (2021, March 12)
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