NASA: The month of May has been relatively quiet so far in terms of asteroids coming close to our planet. While there have been a few small space rocks flying past the planet at a considerable distance, and a few meteors lighting up the night sky here and there, nothing noteworthy has happened. There was just one incident where a 1,600-feet wide asteroid was seen on May 15th but thankfully, it did not come close to Earth. But now, concerns are rising as an asteroid more than double its size is headed towards the Earth. A gigantic 3,400-feet wide asteroid will be making its closest approach to the Earth on May 27th, just 8 days from now. Read on to know if there is a risk of an asteroid strike on Earth. Also read: First ever evidence of Supernova explosion found on Earth
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is an arm of NASA, has revealed that the asteroid is named 1989 JA and it is 3,400-feet or 1.8 kilometers wide. For reference, the asteroid is more than twice the size of the Burj Khalifa. The asteroid is expected to make its closest approach to the Earth at a distance of 40,24,182 kilometers. The asteroid is moving at a speed of 47,196 km/h. While this may look like a large distance to cover, due to its high speed, it can be covered in a matter of hours. Scientists are continuing to watch the asteroid to ensure that it maintains its distance. At the moment, it is expected that the asteroid will make a safe passage and is not likely to impact.
The asteroid 1989 JA has been classified as an Apollo class asteroid. An Apollo asteroid is a class of Earth-crossing asteroids which have an axis greater than Earth, but its perihelion (point in orbit which is nearest to the Sun) is smaller than the Earth’s aphelion (point in orbit which is farthest from the Sun). And because of this classification, it is also a near-Earth object or NEO asteroid. Now, why this asteroid is considered dangerous for the Earth is because due to its close proximity to Earth and the massive size, it is capable of causing massive destruction to our planet. This is why NASA has called this a ‘potentially hazardous’ asteroid. Also read: NASA finds something 'mind-blowing', is related to Dinosaur killing asteroid
Interestingly, if everything goes well and the asteroid does not make it towards us, astronomy enthusiasts can see this space rock floating around using a pair of professional binoculars. This asteroid was last seen in 2015 and it will not be seen again before 2029 when it will cross our path again.
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