240-foot asteroid set to get dangerously close to Earth today, warns NASA

    NASA warns that a humongous 240-foot wide asteroid will be coming dangerously close to the Earth today, November 12. Know the consequences that a gigantic asteroid has.

    By: HT TECH
    | Updated on: Nov 12 2022, 11:07 IST
    Asteroid whizzes past Earth in close encounter: NASA
    1/5 On Wednesday, a giant fireball was seen and heard across the Mississippi, US. While locals were left wondering whether they saw an alien ship or an asteroid, NASA tells us the truth. (Pixabay)
    Asteroid and Earth
    2/5 According to Sky.org, it is at a maximum distance of 380 million kilometers away from the Sun. On the other hand, its distance from the Earth was just 2.74 million kilometers, equivalent to 0.02 astronomical units. An astronomical unit (AU, or au) is basically a unit of length equal to the average, or mean, distance between Earth and the Sun, that is, 149,597,870.7 km (92,955,807.3 miles). (Pixabay)
    3/5 The report says, “The asteroid 2022 OX3 flew past Earth on August 02 at 18:45 at a distance of 2.74 million kilometers at a speed of 16 kilometers per second.” Although NASA has stated that this asteroid didn’t pose any viable threat to Earth, it was still classified as a potentially hazardous asteroid due to the close proximity of its encounter with Earth. (NASA)
    4/5 The Near-Earth objects (NEOs) are monitored by NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office which monitors the sky with telescopes and keeps a track of upcoming flybys. Keeping a track of these NEOs has become relatively easy with the advancement of technology. With the help of advanced telescopes, more than 750,000 asteroids have been discovered to date out of which over 27,000 are near-Earth asteroids. (Pixabay)
    5/5 This is not the first encounter where an asteroid has flown close to Earth. On May 9, Asteroid Asteroid 467460 (2006 JF42), flew close past Earth. Previously, on April 28, Asteroid 418135 (2008 AG33), passed by our planet. (Pixabay)
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    NASA reports that potentially hazardous asteroid 2020 FC4 is headed towards the Earth. (Pixabay)

    Ever since the new class of asteroids have been discovered, which are roaming entirely within the Earth's orbit, the threat of an asteroid strike has increased multifold on us. The threat comes from these asteroids as most cannot be tracked due to the Sun's glare and the photosensitive nature of the telescopes. This means that any of these asteroids can blindside astronomers and strike Earth without warning. But the threat is bigger than that. This also means that any asteroid passing by Earth can get hit by one of these smaller asteroids and they can get redirected straight towards Earth and that can have tragic consequences. As a 240-foot asteroid makes a close approach towards our planet today, November 12, according to NASA, this risk does exist.

    Giant asteroid approaching the Earth

    The asteroid was recently added to the NASA Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) database which has revealed some important information regarding the asteroid. The name of the space rock is Asteroid 2020 FC4, and it was first observed in 2020 and that's what the 4 digit number in its name indicates. The asteroid will come as close as 7.6 million kilometers to the Earth. This asteroid is traveling at a mind-numbing speed of 47988 kilometers per hour. This is extremely fast and it can fill the gap between us within days if it gets deflected due to some reason. With its size and speed, it can cause some serious damage to our planet, if it ends up hitting us.

    Early predictions have shown that the chances of this asteroid striking our planet are very low. But NASA will continuously monitor the asteroid and will continue to do so till it makes a safe passage.

    How NASA tracks near-Earth objects

    Ever since NASA understood the risk of the near-Earth objects (NEO), it has dedicated itself to track and monitor as many space rocks in the inner circle of the solar system as possible. Using the prowess of JPL and Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) telescope, the US space agency collects data for over 20,000 asteroids.

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    First Published Date: 12 Nov, 11:06 IST