A massive asteroid, size of a ship, near Earth today!

Asteroid just made a close pass to Earth today on February 22, 2022 at 2:54 a.m. EST (07:54 UTC). It was clearly visible with a telescope.

| Updated on: Aug 22 2022, 10:07 IST
Giant asteroid passed earth from just just 3.3 million miles away. (via REUTERS)
Giant asteroid passed earth from just just 3.3 million miles away. (via REUTERS)

A giant space rock named Asteroid 1999 VF22 just passed Earth today, February 22, 2022. The asteroid was closest to Earth at 2:54 a.m. EST (07:54 UTC) on February 22. It was just 3.3 million miles (5.4 million km) away or almost 14 times the Earth-moon distance from us. That may sound a lot, but in space terms, it is quite insignificant. For Asteroid 1999 VF22, this is believed to be the closest approach it has made to Earth in more than 100 years. According to reports, the asteroid was close enough for astronomers to study it using radar. The Virtual Telescope has even aired its flyby live.

As reported by earthsky.org, Asteroid 1999 VF22 is expected to return and fly by Earth again in 128 years, with the closest approach being on February 23, 2150. However, next time it is expected to make an even closer approach to Earth. Notably, this isn't a newly discovered asteroid. It was discovered by Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona back on November 10, 1999. This is why it gets its name of 1999 VF22.

Asteroid 1999 VF22 was traveling at 56,158 miles per hour (25.1 km/s) relative to Earth. Although it passed us at a safe distance, it was still classified as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid. According to the report, astronomers have mounted the 230-foot (70-meter) DSS-14 Goldstone Radar Antenna in California at the space rock to study this asteroid.

Here's all you need to know about Asteroid 1999 VF22

According to previous radar studies from the Arecibo Observatory, Asteroid 1999 VF22 is a rounded space rock and has an average size of 1,017 feet (310 meters) in diameter. It orbits the sun every 1 1/2 years and hence it does not only pass close to Earth, but also to Mars, Venus and Mercury.

The asteroid was clearly visible with a 12-inch or larger diameter telescope.

Follow HT Tech for the latest tech news and reviews , also keep up with us on Twitter, Facebook, Google News, and Instagram. For our latest videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

First Published Date: 22 Feb, 09:56 IST