MASSIVE 150-foot asteroid hurtling towards Earth! NASA reveals close approach details

A humongous 150 feet wide asteroid is set to make a very close approach to Earth soon, putting space agencies such as NASA on alert.

| Updated on: May 22 2023, 06:32 IST
Spectacular NASA Astronomy Pictures of the Week: Eagle Nebula, Dark Sunspots and more
NASA Eagle Nebula
1/5 The mesmerizing Eagle Nebula (May 15) - This is a snapshot of M16, also known as the Eagle Nebula which spans about 20 light-years across. The nebula, discovered in 1745 by the Swiss astronomer Jean-Philippe Loys de Chéseaux, is located 7,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Serpens, according to NASA. (NASA/Gianni Lacroce)
2/5 Sun’s Corona visible during solar eclipse (May 16) - Sun’s Corona was shot during a total solar eclipse. Temperatures in the Sun’s Corona can reach up to 2 million degrees and it is also the region where solar wind originates, according to NASA. While the hottest part of the Sun is its core, one of its most puzzling features is its Corona which extends more than 1 million kilometers from its surface. (NASA/Reinhold Wittich)
3/5 Sun’s Dark Sunspots (May 17) - Sunspots on the surface of the Sun in the active region AR 3297 were captured in this image. According to NASA, Sunspots are dark areas on the solar surface that contain strong magnetic fields that are constantly shifting and can form and dissipate over periods of days or weeks. They occur when strong magnetic fields emerge through the solar surface and allow the area to cool slightly. (NASA/Mark Johnston)
WR134 Ring Nebula
4/5 Breathtaking WR134 Ring Nebula (May 18) -  It is a breathtaking snapshot of the WR134 Ring Nebula, located about 6000 light-years from Earth towards the constellation Cygnus. At the center of the Nebula is the Wolf Rayet star WR 134 named after French astronomers Charles Wolf and Georges Rayet. (NASA/Craig Stocks)
NASA M63 Curly Spiral Galaxy
5/5 Snapshot of M63 Curly Spiral Galaxy (May 19) - The celestial object captured in this image is the M63 Curly Spiral Galaxy which is located about 30 million light-years away towards the constellation Canes Venatici. Also known as NGC 5055, this spiral galaxy spans almost 100,000 light-years. Spiral Galaxies like M63 are disks of stars, gas, and dust that have bright bulges in their centers made up primarily of older and dimmer stars. (NASA/Sophie Paulin/Jens Unger/Jakob Sahner)
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Asteroid 2021 JK7 belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids. (Pixabay)

Asteroids are located far off in space, but some of them often stray towards Earth. There are almost 1.9 million asteroids that are 1KM or larger and millions of other space rocks in space, according to NASA. The space agency keeps an eye on asteroids with its advanced ground and space-based telescopes. Moreover, NASA has recently announced its Daily Minor Planet Project where you can help the space agency spot these potentially dangerous space rocks!

Although asteroids rarely threaten Earth and most of them burn up in the atmosphere itself without causing any harm to the planet, their close approaches serve as a reminder of the importance of continuing to study and track asteroids to better understand and prepare for potential threats.

NASA has now revealed details about a humongous asteroid that is hurtling towards Earth today.

Asteroid 2021 JK7 details

The asteroid, given the designation of Asteroid 2021 JK7, will make its closest approach to Earth today, May 22, at a distance of 6.3 million kilometers. This space rock, which is nearly the size of an aircraft with a width of 150 feet, is hurtling towards Earth at a blistering speed of 82341 kilometers per hour. It belongs to the Apollo group of Near-Earth Asteroids, as per NASA.

How NASA studies and tracks asteroids: Tech explained

Surveys done by NASA-supported ground-based telescopes – including Pans-STARRS1 in Maui, Hawaii, as well as the Catalina Sky Survey near Tucson, Arizona – have identified thousands of near-Earth objects. And a space-based telescope called NEOWISE has identified hundreds of others while scanning the skies at near-infrared wavelengths of light from its polar orbit around Earth. NASA uses its ground-based radar to gather precise data about the asteroid's path and its characteristics.

NASA also has a new impact monitoring system in place which uses an algorithm called Sentry-II to calculate the impact risk of Near-Earth Objects. The space agency has a NEO Surveyor mission planned for launch in 2026 to gain even greater in-depth data using a new orbiter.

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First Published Date: 22 May, 06:31 IST