WASHINGTON: The biggest asteroid to move by Earth this 12 months will method inside some two million kilometres of our planet on March 21, Nasa mentioned Thursday.
The US house company mentioned it’ll permit 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 mentioned.
“We all know the orbital path of 2001 FO32 across the Solar very precisely,” mentioned 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 instances the space 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 sooner than the velocity at which most asteroids encounter Earth.
“Presently, little is thought about this object, so the very shut encounter supplies an excellent alternative to be taught a terrific deal about this asteroid,” mentioned Lance Benner, principal scientist at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Nasa mentioned astronomers hope to get a greater understanding of the asteroid’s measurement and a tough thought of its composition by learning gentle reflecting off its floor.
“When daylight hits an asteroid’s floor, minerals within the rock soak 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.”
Beginner astronomers in some elements of the globe ought to be capable to conduct their very own observations.
“The asteroid might be brightest whereas it strikes by means of southern skies,” Chodas mentioned.
“Beginner astronomers within the southern hemisphere and at low northern latitudes ought to be capable to see this asteroid utilizing reasonable measurement telescopes with apertures of no less than 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 mentioned 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 subsequent century.