Have you heard about the huge asteroid that will pass close to Earth this April? No? Here’s what you all need to know about it. Fortunately, this huge asteroid is not going to collide with Earth. But it will pass close enough for us to witness it. This predicted phenomenon has excited a lot of young astronomers and professionals.
How close is the asteroid (52768) 1998 OR2?
The asteroid (52768) 1998 OR2 is the biggest one to pass the Earth with such proximity. It is predicted that it would come the closest to Earth on 29 April 2020. The space rock is about a mile wide (1.8km) and 2 1/2 times larger than that (4.1km).
The asteroid will most probably reach the closest at 5:56 am on 29 April. The movement of the asteroid is already under check by the professional observatories. Young astronomers will soon be able to see a “slow” moving star.
How to view it?
Even if you don’t possess a telescope, you should not be having many problems in viewing the space rock. The Virtual Telescope Project in Rome has taken the initiative to conduct free online public viewing of the asteroid on 28 April 2019.
The Question of Collision
It should be noted that the asteroid, in any case, will not collide with the Earth. It will pass by at a distance of 4 million miles (6 million km), which is around 16 times the distance between the Moon and Earth. The asteroid (52768) 1998 OR2 has been labeled as a Potentially Hazardous Object (PHO).
This is because any object, if it’s minimum orbit intersection distance with respect to Earth, is less than 0.05AU, then it is termed as PHO.
The orbiting of this asteroid has been known till the next 200 years, and it is only in 2079 that it will swoop past Earth again at a distance of a million miles. Also, asteroid (52768) 1998 OR2 is the largest of all Near-Earth Objects that is going to pass Earth five times in the next two centuries.
The Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico will be examining this asteroid from 8th-24th April 2019, which will travel at a speed of 19,461 miles per hour (31,320 km/h).