An asteroid as extensive 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 isn’t any motive to panic.
The house rock, formally referred to as 231937 (2001 FO32), is about zero.5 to 1 mile (zero.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 enormous sufficient to be categorized as “doubtlessly hazardous,” according to a database printed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
An asteroid is designated as “doubtlessly hazardous” when its orbit intersects with Earth’s at a distance of not more than about four.65 million miles (7.5 million km) and it’s greater than about 500 toes (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 environment nearly every 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 keeping with EarthSky. Observatories have monitored it ever since. Scientists used these observations to calculate the asteroid’s orbit and decide how shut the house rock will come to Earth when it whizzes by at nearly 77,000 mph (124,000 km/h).
No recognized asteroid poses a big danger to Earth for the following 100 years. The present largest recognized menace is an asteroid referred to as (410777) 2009 FD, which has a 1 in 714 (lower than zero.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 by utilizing the gravity of a flying spacecraft to slowly pull asteroids off their trajectory to a protected distance, according to NASA’s PDCO.
In case you have a telescope with an aperture of a minimum of eight inches (20 centimeters), you may have the ability to spot the fast-moving house rock, in keeping 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 four:45 a.m. EST on March 20.
Initially printed on Dwell Science.