The most important asteroid to zoom previous Earth this yr will achieve this on March 21, NASA says.
Astronomers will get a invaluable alternative to watch an area rock up shut as asteroid 2001 FO32 swoops previous our dwelling planet on March 21, however the rock will not come nearer than 1.25 million miles (2 million kilometers), NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced today (March 11) in an announcement.
“There isn’t a risk of a collision with our planet now or for hundreds of years to come back,” the assertion learn.
“We all know the orbital path of 2001 FO32 across the solar very precisely, because it was found 20 years in the past and has been tracked ever since,” Paul Chodas, director of the Middle for Close to Earth Object Research (CNEOS), which is managed by JPL, stated in the identical assertion. “There isn’t a probability the asteroid will get any nearer to Earth than 1.25 million miles.”
The asteroid, which is estimated to be 1,300 toes to 2,230 toes (440 to 680 meters) broad, will zoom previous us at a whopping 77,00zero mph (124,00 kph), which is quicker than most asteroids journey close to Earth. Its uncommon pace is because of its elongated and extremely inclined orbit across the solar, in line with JPL. Because the rock nears the interior photo voltaic system, it picks up pace earlier than whipping again round towards deep house earlier than turning again in direction of the solar, orbiting as soon as each 810 days.
The rock is deemed a “doubtlessly hazardous asteroid,” or PHA, by the CNEOS. The CNEOS displays PHAs like 2001 FO32 utilizing ground-based radar and telescopes, monitoring their motion in case they get shut sufficient to Earth to pose an impression threat.
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Whereas the asteroid orbits the solar as soon as about each 2.25 years, 2001 FO32 will not come this near our planet once more till 2052, when it is going to move by at 1.75 million miles (2.eight million km), in line with JPL.
Though the upcoming “shut” move does not pose a threat for these of us residing on planet Earth, the flyby does present a possibility for astronomers to get a great have a look at 2001 FO32.
The proximity will permit astronomers to higher observe the asteroid’s measurement and brightness and provides them a greater concept of its composition, primarily doing “geology with a telescope,” Vishnu Reddy, an affiliate professor on the College of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory in Tucson, stated in the identical JPL assertion.
Now, whereas skilled astronomers are planning their observations for the flyby with telescopes like NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) in Hawaii, “novice astronomers within the Southern Hemisphere and at low northern latitudes ought to be capable to see this asteroid utilizing moderate-size telescopes with apertures of no less than eight inches within the nights main as much as closest strategy, however they may most likely want star charts to search out it,” Chodas stated.
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