An asteroid as broad because the Golden Gate Bridge is lengthy will hurtle previous Earth subsequent month. However though will probably be the most important and speediest asteroid to fly by our planet this 12 months, there is not any motive 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 labeled as “probably hazardous,” according to a database printed 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 greater than about 500 ft (140 meters) in diameter, according to NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS).
Small asteroids move between Earth and the moon a number of instances a month, and their fragments enter and break up in Earth’s ambiance nearly 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 nearly 77,000 mph (124,000 km/h).
No identified asteroid poses a major danger to Earth for the following 100 years. The present largest identified risk is an asteroid referred to as (410777) 2009 FD, which has a 1 in 714 (lower than 0.2%) likelihood of hitting Earth in 2185, according to NASA’s PDCO.
NASA is learning strategies of deflecting asteroids that do find yourself on a collision course with Earth, comparable to through the use of the gravity of a flying spacecraft to slowly pull asteroids off their trajectory to a secure distance, according to NASA’s PDCO.
In case you have a telescope with an aperture of not less than eight inches (20 centimeters), you may have the ability to 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 printed on Stay Science.