Massive 88-foot asteroid to come dangerously close to Earth today; NASA pegs it at 5.6mn km | Tech News

Massive 88-foot asteroid to come dangerously close to Earth today; NASA pegs it at 5.6mn km

NASA has revealed that a huge aircraft-sized asteroid is all set to make a close approach to Earth today. Know about its speed, distance, trajectory and more.

| Updated on: Dec 13 2022, 10:43 IST
270-foot monster, 4 other asteroids heading for Earth! Check details here
1/5 Asteroid 2003 YS70 - NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office has issued an alert against an asteroid named Asteroid 2003 YS70. This 17 feet wide asteroid is expected to fly past Earth tomorrow December 13, at a distance of 4 million kilometers. The asteroid is already on its way towards Earth, travelling at a staggering speed of 14818 kilometers per hour!  (Pixabay)
2/5 Asteroid 2019 XQ1 - NASA has red-flagged another 92-foot asteroid named Asteroid 2019 XQ1 due to its extremely close approach to the planet. The asteroid will make its closest approach to Earth tomorrow December 13, at a distance of 5.5 million kilometers. NASA has warned that the space rock is already on its way towards the planet travelling at a speed of nearly 35238 kilometers per hour!   (Pixabay)
3/5 Asteroid 2018 XU3 – This gigantic asteroid is 88 feet wide, which is nearly the size of an aircraft! It will make its close trip to Earth tomorrow, December 13, at a distance of nearly 5.6 million kilometers. The asteroid, known as Asteroid 2018 XU3, is already speeding towards Earth faster than a bullet, travelling at a speed of 37149 kilometers per hour.  (Pixabay)
4/5 Asteroid 2021 XS4 – NASA has warned that an asteroid named Asteroid 2021 XS4 is heading for Earth on December 14. This asteroid, with a size of nearly 71 feet, is heading for Earth at a blistering speed of 34936 kilometers per hour. It will miss Earth at a distance of 5.5 million kilometers.  (Pixabay)
5/5 Asteroid 2015 RN35 – This week’s fifth and the largest asteroid, a 270-foot monster asteroid named 2015 RN35 will be making its closest Earth approach on December 15. It will come as close as 686,000 kilometers, according to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). And this is not all, this skyscraper-sized asteroid is also moving at a mind-numbing speed of 21276 kilometer per hour!  (Pixabay)
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Check out what NASA has to say about this asteroid today. (Pixabay)

NASA, with the help of its various space and ground-based telescopes, has discovered a huge aircraft-sized asteroid which is on its way towards Earth today. It is hurtling towards the planet at blistering speed. It has been classified as a potentially hazardous asteroid due to the close proximity of its encounter with Earth.

Details about Asteroid 2018 XU3

NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office is responsible for monitoring the skies and keeping a watch on various Near-Earth Objects (NEOs). If any NEO is at risk of Earth impact, it red flags and issues the alert.

The asteroid, named Asteroid 2018 XU3, is hurtling towards Earth and could make its closest approach to the planet today, December 13. In fact, it is already travelling towards us at a blistering speed of 37149 kilometers per hour. It will make its closest approach at a distance of 5.6 million kilometers.

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It belongs to the main Apollo group of asteroids, which are a group of Near-Earth asteroids named after the humongous 1862 Apollo asteroid, discovered by German astronomer Karl Reinmuth in the 1930s.

The distance may look great, but even a slight deviation or deflection in the asteroid's trajectory as a result of interaction with Earth's gravitational field or something else, could send it tumbling towards the planet. However, NASA is tracking the asteroid constantly.

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 using various space and ground-based telescopes such as NASA's NEOWISE telescope and its brand-new Sentry II algorithm. 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 time.

As of now, nearly 28,000 near-Earth asteroids have been discovered using various survey telescopes which track objects in the sky.

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First Published Date: 13 Dec, 10:24 IST