120-foot Asteroid 2023 HW1 hurtling towards Earth! Huge space rock to come close today
NASA has revealed key information about an asteroid which is expected to make its closest approach to Earth today.
With asteroids making close approaches to Earth nearly every day, it is important for space agencies such as NASA to continuously monitor them. Although these space rocks are far off in space in their own elliptical orbits, they also rotate, sometimes quite erratically. Sometimes, interaction with a planet's gravitational field knocks these asteroids off their trajectories and sends them towards a planet like Earth for potential impact.
To keep a check on these asteroids, NASA has established its Planetary Defense Coordination Office at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. This organization has now issued an alert against an asteroid that is expected to make its closest approach to Earth soon.
Asteroid 2023 HW1 details
The asteroid, given the designation of Asteroid 2023 HW1, is on its way towards Earth today, April 28. The asteroid was spotted by NASA's Defense Coordination Office (PDCO), which is responsible for monitoring the skies and keeping a watch on various Near-Earth Objects (NEOs). What's shocking is that the asteroid is nearly the size of a commercial aircraft, with a width of almost 120 feet!
Asteroid 2023 HW1 is expected to make its closest approach to the planet at a distance of 4.2 million kilometers today at a speed of 36861 kilometers per hour, as per NASA. This space rock belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids.
How does NASA track an asteroid – Process explained
When NASA's telescopes track a new Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA), astronomers measure the asteroid's observed positions in the sky and report them to the Minor Planet Center. The Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) then uses that data to determine the asteroid's most likely orbit around the Sun, according to NASA.
To assess whether an impact is possible and narrow down where the true orbit may be, NASA's new Sentry II then uses a new algorithm and selects random points throughout the entire uncertainty region. This allows Sentry-II to zero in on more very low probability impact scenarios.
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