BEWARE, this huge asteroid will come terrifyingly close to Earth! NASA issues alert | Tech News

BEWARE, this huge asteroid will come terrifyingly close to Earth! NASA issues alert

A huge asteroid is heading towards the Earth and will come terrifyingly close to the planet in the coming days. Will it crash on Earth, burn up in atmosphere or fly by after buzzing the planet at terrifyingly close quarters? Check what NASA said about this asteroid.

| Updated on: Sep 13 2022, 10:58 IST
Asteroid fun facts in pics: NASA reveals all you need to know
1/5 Space is full of objects, out of which only a few have been discovered. Asteroids are some of these objects. If you are not aware about the dangerous objects called asteroids, here are some facts you should know. First, did you know that asteroids are sometimes called minor planets? Well, they are. (Pixabay)
2/5 Differences between an Asteroid, Comet, Meteoroid, Meteor and Meteorite: According to the information provided by NASA, Asteroid is a relatively small, inactive, rocky body orbiting the Sun. Comet is a relatively small, at times active, object whose ice can vaporize in sunlight forming an atmosphere (coma) of dust and gas and, sometimes, a tail of dust and/or gas. Meteoroid is a small particle from a comet or asteroid orbiting the Sun. Meteor is the light phenomena which results when a meteoroid enters the Earth's atmosphere and vaporizes, in short, a shooting star. While, Meteorite is a meteoroid that survives its passage through the Earth's atmosphere and lands upon the Earth's surface. (NASA)
3/5 Asteroid: Size, frequency and impact- More than 100 tons of dust and sand sized particles are bombarded towards Earth everyday, according to NASA. While, about once a year, an automobile-sized asteroid hits Earth's atmosphere, creates an impressive fireball, and burns up before reaching the surface. Every 2,000 years or so, a meteoroid the size of a football field hits Earth and causes significant damage to the area. Only once every few million years, an object large enough to threaten Earth's civilization comes along. Impact craters on Earth, the moon and other planetary bodies are evidence of these occurrences. Space rocks smaller than about 25 meters (about 82 feet) will most likely burn up as they enter the Earth's atmosphere and cause little or no damage. By comparison, asteroids that populate the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, and pose no threat to Earth, can be as big as 940 kilometers (about 583 miles) across. (NASA)
4/5 How is an Asteroid Orbit Calculated? An asteroid's orbit is computed by finding the elliptical path about the sun that best fits the available observations of the object. That is, the object's computed path about the sun is adjusted until the predictions of where the asteroid should have appeared in the sky at several observed times match the positions where the object was actually observed to be at those same times. (Pixabay)
5/5 What is NASA doing to find and learn more about potentially hazardous asteroids and comets? NASA has established a Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO), managed in the Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. The PDCO ensures the early detection of potentially hazardous objects (PHOs) - asteroids and comets whose orbits are predicted to bring them within 0.05 Astronomical Units of Earth (5 million miles or 8 million kilometers) and of a size large enough to reach Earth's surface - that is, greater than approximately 30 to 50 meters. NASA tracks and characterizes these objects and issues warnings about potential impacts, providing timely and accurate information. NASA also leads the coordination of U.S. Government planning for response to an actual impact threat. (AFP)
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Check out what NASA has to say about this massive asteroid which will pass by the planet closely on September 15. (Pixabay)

A huge asteroid is heading towards the Earth and will come terrifyingly close to the planet in the coming days. Will it crash on Earth, burn up in atmosphere or fly by back into endless space after buzzing the planet at terrifyingly close quarters? Asteroids are Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) which are often found orbiting the Sun in the main asteroid belt near Jupiter. NASA defines NEOs as an object whose orbit brings it within a zone approximately 195 million kilometers from the Sun, meaning that it can pass within about 50 million kilometers of Earth's orbit. Usually, asteroids are the most common NEOs which come near the Earth's orbit. Most of them burn up and disintegrate before reaching the planet but some can still pass through. Now, another one is already on its way.

Asteroid 2020 PT4 to come terrifyingly close to Earth on September 15

Asteroid 2020 PT4 is part of the Apollo group of asteroids. According to, this asteroid takes almost 734 days to complete one orbit of the Sun, during which its farthest distance from the Sun is 355 million kilometers and nearest distance is 122 million kilometers.

Asteroid 2020 PT4 is heading for Earth on September 15 at a blistering speed of 39,024 kilometers per hour, according to NASA. It will make its closest approach to the planet at a distance of nearly 7.1 million kilometers. Although Asteroid 2020 PT4 is not expected to impact the Earth, it has still been classified as a Potentially Hazardous Object due to the close proximity by which it will pass Earth.

Current trajectory of Asteroid 2020 PT4. (NASA)
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Current trajectory of Asteroid 2020 PT4. (NASA)

A slight deviation in its path due to interaction with the planet's gravitational field could change its trajectory and send it hurtling towards the Earth.

NASA's DART spacecraft gets first sight of target asteroid Didymos

The DART spacecraft recently got its first look at Didymos, the double-asteroid system that includes its target, Dimorphos. According to the information provided by NASA, on September 26, DART will intentionally crash into Dimorphos, the asteroid moonlet of Didymos. While the asteroid poses no threat to Earth, this is the world's first test of the kinetic impact technique, using a spacecraft to deflect an asteroid for planetary defense."

Using observations taken every five hours, the DART team will execute three trajectory correction maneuvers over the next three weeks, each of which will further reduce the margin of error for the spacecraft's required trajectory to impact.

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First Published Date: 13 Sep, 10:58 IST