DH Latest NewsDH NEWSLatest NewsNEWSInternationalScience

A massive Asteroid to pass by Earth on March 21st, NASA warns

According to reports from NASA, the most massive asteroid to pass by Earth this year will reach within nearly 1.25 million miles (two million kilometres) of our planet on March 21.
This will permit the astronomers to get a unique solid look at the asteroid, the US space agency added.
The largest asteroid, 2001 FO32, is expected to be about 3,000 feet in diameter and was discovered 20 years ago, NASA told.
“We know the orbital path of 2001 FO32 around the Sun very accurately,” said Paul Chodas, director of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies. “There is no chance the asteroid will get any closer to Earth than 1.25 million miles.”
That is approximately 5.25 times the distance of the Earth from the Moon but still close enough for 2001 FO32 to be categorised as a “potentially hazardous asteroid.”
The 2001 FO32 asteroid will pass by at about 77,000 miles per hour faster than the speed at which most asteroids confront Earth, NASA said.
“Currently, little is known about this object, so the very close encounter provides an outstanding opportunity to learn a great deal about this asteroid,” said Lance Benner, principal scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Astronomers look forward to understand the asteroid’s size in a better way and also to assess a rough idea of its composition by studying light reflecting off its surface, NASA said.
“When sunlight hits an asteroid’s surface, minerals in the rock absorb some wavelengths while reflecting others,” NASA said. “By studying the spectrum of light reflecting off the surface, astronomers can measure the chemical ‘fingerprints’ of the minerals on the surface of the asteroid.”
Avocational astronomers in some parts of the globe should be able to conduct their own observations.
“The asteroid will be brightest while it moves through southern skies, Chodas said.
“Amateur astronomers in the southern hemisphere and at low northern latitudes should be able to see this asteroid using moderate size telescopes with apertures of at least eight inches in the nights leading up to closest approach, but they will probably need star charts to find it.”


Post Your Comments

Back to top button