Empire State Building-sized asteroid set for Earth flyby! Know close approach details

A mammoth asteroid could be making its closest approach to Earth today, August 3. NASA has revealed details such as its size, speed, distance, and more.

| Updated on: Aug 04 2023, 10:26 IST
5 spectacular space events in August; Chandrayaan-3, Perseids meteor shower, more
1/5 Perhaps, the biggest event of the month will be the lunar landing of the Chandrayaan-3 mission. After the tragic crash of Chandrayaan-2 rover, this time the hope of the nation is with the new and improved spacecraft that is expected to enter its landing phase on August 23-24. If the landing goes well, Chandrayaan-3 rover will become the first human mission to successfully land on the south pole of the Moon. (AP)
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2/5 Between August 12 and 13, it is expected that the Perseids meteor shower, one of the most popular annual meteor showers, will peak. Perseids meteor shower originates from the comet Swift-Tuttle. The meteors are known as the Perseids because the point from which they appear to hail is in the constellation Perseus. It is known as the best-known meteor shower and among the most reliable in performance. (Unsplash)
3/5 On August 11, Russia can launch the Luna-25 mission that will enter the race with Chandrayaan-3 to the south pole of the Moon. The Luna-25 mission comes 37 years after the Luna-24 mission that sent a robotic rover to collect samples from the Moon.  (NASA Website)
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4/5 On August 26, Japan is expected to launch its X-Ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission (XRISM), which is a space observatory that will use X-ray spectroscopy to study the plasma in space. (Representative Photo) (NASA)
5/5 The rarest space event will occur at the end of the month on August 30, when we will get to see the Blue Moon. While the Moon itself will not turn blue in color, the name has a specific definition. NASA defines Blue Moon as the second full moon that occurs in a single month. While that in itself is not rare, a Blue Moon coinciding with the super moon (Sturgeon Moon) is quite special. In fact, it has not happened since 2009 and the next time it happens will be in 2032, as per the website Time and Date. (AFP)
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Asteroid 2014 QL433 belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids. (Pixabay)

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is gearing up for the big reveal of the pristine asteroid sample that was collected by its OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. During its mission, the spacecraft collected a sample from an asteroid called Bennu which has a 1/2700 chance of impacting Earth between 2175 and 2195. Studying it will not only improve our understanding of asteroids that could impact Earth but also shed light on planet formation and the origin of organics and water that could have led to life, as per NASA.

In other news, NASA has also discovered a Near-Earth Asteroid whose orbit will bring it close to Earth, and it is mammoth in size. Know details.

Asteroid 2014 QL433: Details

This Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA) is expected to make its closest approach to Earth today, August 4. Whilst this space rock will come very close to the planet, it is not expected to impact the surface. According to NASA, Asteroid 2014 QL433 will pass by Earth at a distance of around 5.3 million kilometers. It is already on its way toward the planet, travelling at a blistering speed of 74246 kilometers per hour.

Is it dangerous?

NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) has classified this asteroid as a Potentially Hazardous Object. These are celestial objects larger than about 490 meters that can approach the Earth within 7.5 million kilometers. According to NASA, Asteroid 2014 QL433 is nearly 1200 feet wide, meaning it is as big as the Empire State Building in New York!

The space agency has also revealed that 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.

The asteroid made its first close approach to Earth nearly a century ago on August 10, 1930, as it passed by approximately 6.2 million kilometers. Interestingly, the next time this asteroid will come close to Earth will be almost a century into the future! As per NASA details, Asteroid 2014 QL433 will come close to Earth on February 20, 2120, at a distance of 5.2 million kilometers.

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First Published Date: 04 Aug, 10:06 IST
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