Apollo group asteroid to pass Earth closely today; Know speed, size and more
An aircraft-sized asteroid designated Asteroid 2023 UF6, is set to pass Earth today, October 25. Know the details of its close approach, as per NASA.
Asteroid 2023 UF6: NASA launched the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) on September 8, 2016, in a bid to study an asteroid called Bennu which has a 1/2700 chance of impacting Earth between 2175 and 2195. The space agency sent a spacecraft that landed on the asteroid, collecting rock and dust samples, before finally returning them to Earth a few weeks ago. While NASA managed to collect the samples present outside the container, it is struggling to remove 2 of the 35 fasteners on the capsule. Thus, the samples inside the capsule haven't been accessed yet.
In a new development, NASA has shed light on an asteroid that is set to pass Earth at a close distance today.
Asteroid 2023 UF6: Speed, size, distance, and more
According to details revealed by NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), this asteroid, designated as Asteroid 2023 UF6 is expected to pass Earth today, October 25. Its orbit will bring it as close as 3 million kilometers to the planet. While this distance might seem like a lot, it is quite less in astronomical terms. It has been estimated to be travelling at a breakneck speed of 55243 kilometers per hour.
According to NASA, the asteroid that is approaching Earth isn't big enough to be classified as a Potentially Hazardous Object. Asteroid 2023 UF6 is estimated to be between 59 feet and 131 feet wide, which is not big enough to be classified as a Potentially Hazardous Object. In terms of size, it is nearly as big as an aircraft.
It belongs to the Apollo group of Near-Earth Asteroids, which are Earth-crossing space rocks with semi-major axes larger than Earth's. These asteroids are named after the humongous 1862 Apollo asteroid, discovered by German astronomer Karl Reinmuth in the 1930s.
This will be Asteroid 2023 UF6's first-ever close approach in history. According to NASA CNEOS, the next time it will pass Earth will be on April 22, 2028, at a distance of almost 70 million kilometers.
Process of naming asteroids
According to the European Space Agency (ESA), the process of assigning a provisional designation to an asteroid begins when a single observer detects it on two consecutive nights and then sends their findings to the Minor Planet Centre of the International Astronomical Union (IAU). The IAU assigns a provisional designation, which typically consists of a serial number like "2023 UF6". The provisional designation includes the year of the asteroid's discovery, followed by two letters that indicate the order of its discovery during that year.
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