Menacing asteroid hurtling towards Earth at a breakneck speed! Check details

Asteroid 2023 OY4, which is nearly 96 feet, is expected to make its closest approach to Earth in the coming days. Know details of this close encounter, as per NASA.

| Updated on: Aug 02 2023, 11:21 IST
NASA tracks Asteroid 2023 OF1, reveals speed, size, close approach details
1/7 NASA says an asteroid is hurtling towards Earth and it will come very close tomorrow. (NASA JPL)
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2/7 According to the details published by the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), an asteroid, given the designation of Asteroid  2023 OF1, is on its way toward Earth and could make its closest approach to the planet tomorrow, August 2, 2023. (Freepik)
3/7 The close approach of this asteroid towards Earth is estimated to be 6,800,000 km. It belongs to the Apollo group of Near-Earth Asteroids. According to the data provided by CNEOS, this asteroid was first observed on 21 July, 2023. (Pixabay)
4/7 According to the data provided by CNEOS, this asteroid was first observed on 21 July, 2023. (Pixabay)
5/7 While the asteroid will not pose any threat to Earth, NASA will keep a constant watch to ensure it passes by as per its trajectory. (Pixabay)
6/7 Sometimes, asteroids may deviate from their paths due to various reasons including from the planet's gravitational effect. (REUTERS)
7/7 Asteroids are tracked by various space agencies because they pose a danger to Earth. For instance, when an asteroid exploded over the city of Chelyabinsk, it caused injuries to thousands of people.   (pixabay)
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Asteroid 2023 OY4 belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids. (Pixabay)

Some asteroids present a potential threat of collision with Earth while others can help discover secrets of space. Although these ancient space rocks are located far away in space, mainly in the asteroid belt, they often make close approaches to Earth, passing the planet at close distances. This can happen if an asteroid gets knocked off course, affected by a large planet's gravitational pull. Their orbits can also bring them extremely close to Earth.

NASA's Defense Coordination Office (PDCO), which is responsible for monitoring the skies and keeping a watch on various Near-Earth Objects (NEOs), has issued a warning against an asteroid that will pass Earth closely today.

Asteroid 2023 OY4

NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) has designated this space rock as Asteroid 2023 OY4. The asteroid will make its closest approach to Earth today, August 2, at a distance of just 1.2 million kilometers. Shockingly, it is already rushing towards Earth in its orbit, traveling at a speed of about 63475 kilometers per hour, which is just shy of the speed of a hypersonic ballistic missile.

Asteroid 2023 OY4 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.

Is Asteroid 2023 OY4 dangerous?

While the asteroid is not a planet killer, such a large asteroid still has the potential to cause severe damage. It is about 96 feet wide, making it almost as big as an aircraft. It is bigger than the Chelyabinsk asteroid which exploded over the city of Russia in 2013, injuring over 1000 people and damaging nearly 8000 buildings.

The dinosaur-killing asteroid - How it happened

Asteroids have time and again crashed on Earth and changed the course of history. One of the major incidents happened nearly 65 million years ago when a large asteroid struck Earth and wiped out multiple species of dinosaurs! While the impact crater, known as the Chicxulub crater, is buried under the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, hypotheses reveal how the impact occurred.

According to the Alvarez hypothesis, the asteroid terraformed the planet which has made it habitable for humans today but likely was the reason which started the extinction of dinosaurs. The impact would've caused the formation of huge tidal waves and an impact crater almost 140 km wide. The impact would've caused the land material to splatter into space, changing the Earth into a nuclear winter-like environment.

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First Published Date: 02 Aug, 10:42 IST