A ‘potentially dangerous’ asteroid passes Earth today: How to see it

A ‘potentially dangerous’ asteroid passes Earth today: How to see it

Top line

An asteroid the size of a football field will pass by Earth on Friday, and because of its size and proximity to Earth, NASA scientists are monitoring it for any potential danger.

Key facts

An 890-foot-long asteroid will pass by Earth on Friday, coming within 1.7 million miles of the planet, about seven times farther than the Moon, and traveling at about 11 miles per second, according to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The asteroid, called Asteroid 2008 OS7, orbits the sun every 962 days, so its next return will be in 2026, although its next approach won’t be until 2037, when it comes within 10 million miles of Earth.

NASA classifies objects within 4.6 million miles of Earth and larger than 150 meters in size as a “potentially hazardous object,” so NASA is monitoring their potential danger.

It is expected to pass by Earth around 9:41 a.m. EDT on Friday, and although it will not be visible to the naked eye, NASA is offering a virtual asteroid tracker to see where asteroids are in the solar system in real time, and a virtual telescope. . The project will broadcast the event live.

Huge number

1,303,867. This is the number of asteroids NASA estimates are in the solar system.

Main background

Asteroids are rocky bodies that orbit the sun like planets, although they are much smaller, according to NASA. They are made up of leftover remains of the solar system about 4.6 billion years ago. Asteroid 2008 OS7 is one of 18,232 Apollo-class asteroids, which are asteroids that can transit into Earth’s orbit. NASA has taken the threat of an asteroid contacting Earth very seriously in recent years. In 2022, it conducted the first double asteroid deflection test, changing the asteroid’s orbit. NASA launched a spacecraft into space and it collided with the asteroid, shortening its orbit by 32 minutes. NASA also sent the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft on a mission to a near-Earth asteroid called Bennu in order to study it. The spacecraft collected samples from the asteroid and dropped them back to Earth in September 2023, although the results have not yet been announced. Scientists believe that Bennu has a chance to collide with Earth in 2182, which is why research is being conducted on the asteroid. Scientists on the OSIRIS-REx mission believe Bennu has a 1 in 2,700 chance of hitting a Texas-sized portion of Earth in 2182, according to a 2023 paper published in Icarus.

the shadow

Asteroid 2008 OS7 is not the only asteroid that will pass near Earth tomorrow, as two other asteroids will approach Earth. Asteroid 2024 BJ3, discovered this year, is a 70-foot-long asteroid, the size of an airplane, passing by. It will reach 533,000 miles from Earth, much closer than 2008 OS7. Asteroid 2024 BP1 is also the size of an airplane, although it is slightly larger at 170 feet tall. 2024 BP1 will pass the furthest from Earth, 2.1 million miles away.

In-depth reading

NASA scientists have calculated the exact date on which an asteroid could hit Earth with the force of at least 24 nuclear bombs. Fortunately, it’s a long way. (interested in business)

Next Five Asteroid Approaches (JPL)

A “Wolf Moon” will appear this week: This is the time to see the first full moon of the year (Forbes)

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