Huge asteroid, clocked at an amazing 64800kmph, sets up close encounter with Earth on August 22

    NASA has warned that Asteroid 2020 QW3 has been observed heading for Earth at staggering speed. It will miss Earth by just a few million miles.
    By: SHAURYA TOMER
    | Updated on: Aug 17 2022, 19:28 IST
    Asteroid fun facts in pics: NASA reveals all you need to know
    Asteroid and Earth
    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)
    Asteroid
    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)
    Asteroid
    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)
    Asteroid
    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)
    Asteroid
    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)
    Asteroid
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    Asteroid 2020 QW3 is nearly 92 feet wide, which is the size of an aeroplane. (Pixabay)

    A 92 feet wide asteroid named Asteroid 2020 QW3, nearly the size of an aeroplane, will just miss Earth on August 22. The close encounter between the Earth and the asteroid will happen at 06:41am, according to NASA. Although it will not collide with Earth, it will pass close enough to Earth and therefore, has attracted the attention of NASA. Asteroid 2020 QW3 is different from previous asteroids that have flown past Earth recently as it does not belong to the Apollo group of asteroids but the Amor group. The asteroid orbits around the Sun, taking almost 732 days to complete 1 orbit.

    The Asteroid 2022 QW3 will fly past Earth on August 22 at 06:41am at a distance of 3.3 million kilometers at a staggering speed of 64800 kilometers per hour. Although NASA has stated that this asteroid will not pose any viable threat to Earth, it was still classified as a potentially hazardous asteroid due to the close proximity of its encounter with Earth.

    According to Sky.org, it is at a maximum distance of 321 million kilometers from the Sun. On the other hand, its distance from the Earth is just 8.96 million kilometers, equivalent to 0.06 astronomical units. An astronomical unit (AU, or au) is basically a unit of length equal to the average, or mean, distance between Earth and the Sun, that is, 149,597,870.7 km (92,955,807.3 miles).

    What would happen if an asteroid is headed for impact with Earth?

    Apocalyptic movies like Deep Impact, Armageddon and Don't Look Up have always explored the ‘What Ifs' of world destruction, with the most famous means of world destruction being asteroids crashing into Earth.

    Now, NASA is readying itself to defend the planet against a very similar threat that is posed by asteroids. A NASA mission is in the works to deflect an asteroid off its course by smashing a spacecraft into it at a staggering speed of 23,000kph. This NASA mission is named Double Asteroid Detection Test or DART.

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    First Published Date: 17 Aug, 19:28 IST
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