Published: Sun, March 08, 2020
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Large asteroid’s near-Earth flyby expected to occur in April

Large asteroid’s near-Earth flyby expected to occur in April

But it's not expected to collide with our planet, thankfully.

The last thing you want to hear if you're already anxious about the likelihood of a coronavirus pandemic is that a large asteroid is now hurtling toward Earth that "could end civilization if it hits". The asteroid called 52768 (OR2 of 1998) was first discovered in 1998.

The Post notes that 1998 OR2 will pass by at a distance within 3,908,791 miles of Earth, and a speed of 19,461 miles per hour.

When will the flyby occur?

It's but one of many near-Earth objects that scientists carefully track, Snopes writer Dan Evon reports.

Although the asteroid was classified as a potentially hazardous object because it passes near earth's orbit, according to CNN, it's now not on NASA's list of potential future Earth impact events, which are gathered and monitored by NASA's Sentry System.

Most of the asteroids, including Ceres, are situated in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, but some have orbits that cross Earth's. The same rock is expected to happen again on September 2, 2057, CNN reported Tuesday. That asteroid is estimated to be between two and a half and five and a half miles wide.

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Because of its size and the Earth-crossing orbit, the space rock has already been labeled as a potentially hazardous asteroid. The observatory is located on the Cerro Pachón ridge in north-central Chile.

Astronomers estimate there is a "one in 50,000 chance" of such an object hitting Earth every 100 years. It was additionally kept in mind that the asteroid was initial identified in 1998 and also it is presently being checked by the NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking (COOL) system. On the other hand, The Planetary Society has listed the different types of asteroid impact, in order to have a reference on what the impact of this particular asteoride would entail.

Other missions are also planned.

The asteroid impact will also wipe out human beings from the surface of the planet.

DART will crash into a moonlet (a small natural satellite) of near-Earth asteroid Didymos, that is comparable in size to an asteroid that could pose a threat.

"Specifically, all asteroids with a minimum orbit intersection distance of 0.05 [astronomical units] or less and an absolute magnitude of 22.0 or less are considered [potentially hazardous asteroids]", the space agency explained.

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