Close encounter with asteroid today! NASA reveals details
NASA has revealed details of an upcoming close encounter with an asteroid that will pass the planet closely today, September 29. Know details.
To study asteroids up close, NASA and other space agencies have launched several space missions. The purpose of these missions is to study asteroids, minimize any uncertainties around their dangers, and determine whether we could extract resources from them in the future. The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) was conducted last year where a spacecraft successfully collided with an asteroid to divert it from its path. Other missions include Dawn, OSIRIS-REx, and Hayabusa2.
Asteroid 2023 SE4
An asteroid, given the designation of Asteroid 2023 SE4, is on its way towards Earth and could make its closest approach to the planet today, September 29. NASA revealed these shocking details after tracking the asteroid's orbit using its various satellites and space and ground-based telescopes. As per the details, Asteroid 2023 SE4 is expected to make its closest approach to the planet at a distance of 2 million kilometers, and at a speed of 16662 kilometers per hour, as per NASA.
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.
How big is it?
According to NASA, the asteroid that is approaching Earth is not expected to crash and isn't big enough to be classified as a Potentially Hazardous Object. It is just 45 feet wide, making it as big as a house. This isn't Asteroid 2023 SE4's first close approach to Earth. It first passed Earth at 4.1 million kilometers on October 1, 1965. After today, it will pass Earth on September 27, 2061.
How are asteroids named?
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 KT1". 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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