Asteroid to come closer than the Moon! NASA reveals details of close approach
An Aten group near-Earth Asteroid could make its closest approach today, at a distance closer than the Moon! NASA has revealed the speed, size, and other details of this asteroid.
To discover, monitor and study asteroids in space, NASA has several space telescopes and ground-based observatories in place. These include the famous Hubble Space Telescope and the new James Webb Space Telescope. Moreover, spacecraft such as Dawn, OSIRIS-REx, and Hayabusa2 have also helped in studying these ancient space rocks. As of now, there are 1,298,210 known asteroids in space and while not all of them are dangerous, some of them can get knocked off their orbit due to interaction with a planet's gravitational field such as Jupiter, and head towards Earth for potential impact. Therefore, to remove the uncertainties around the asteroid's approach, it is imperative that we track them.
Information about Asteroid 2023 TM3
NASA has warned that an asteroid named Asteroid 2023 TM3 is rapidly moving towards Earth and is expected to make its closest approach to the planet today, October 10. This space rock is already on its way, travelling at a fearsome speed of 58306 kilometers per hour, which is just shy of the speed of a spacecraft!
According to NASA, Asteroid 2023 TM3 will pass Earth at an extremely close distance of just 103,000, which is one-third the distance to the Moon from Earth! For the unaware, the distance of the Moon from Earth is 384,400 kilometers It will be one of the closest asteroid approaches of the year so far.
It belongs to the Aten group of asteroids, which are Earth-crossing Near-Earth Asteroids (NEAs) with semi-major axes smaller than Earth's. They are named after the asteroid 2062 Aten and the first of its kind was discovered by American astronomer Eleanor Helin at Palomar Observatory on January 7, 1976.
Despite its extremely close approach, this asteroid has not been deemed as threatening due to its small size. NASA estimates it to be almost as big as a house with a width of 47 feet.
This is not the first time that Asteroid 2023 TM3 has come close enough to be considered a Near-Earth Object (NEO). According to NASA, it made its first-ever close approach to Earth on October 10, 1988, when it passed the planet by 1 million kilometers. After today, the asteroid will again come close to the planet on August 16, 2032, when it will pass by at 5.7 million kilometers.
More From This Section