NASA on alert as enormous 470-ft Asteroid dashing towards Earth today

A 470-foot asteroid could make its closest approach to Earth as soon as today. Know its speed, trajectory, distance of approach and more, as per NASA.

| Updated on: Mar 07 2023, 10:17 IST
Top NASA Astronomy Pictures of the Week: Crescent Moon, Flaming Nebula, Venus to Jupiter
1/5 Venus-Jupiter Conjunction (Feb 27) - features the view of Venus and Jupiter, but with an unusual ray of light extending from the horizon. It is known as Zodiacal light, a band of dust reflecting sunlight from the inner Solar System which becomes noticeable during certain periods when observed after sunset or before sunrise. (NASA/Ruslan Merzlyakov)
2/5 Crescent Moon and the Temple of Poseidon (Feb 28) - It is a stunning snapshot of the thin crescent Moon with the ancient Greek Temple of Poseidon at the forefront in Greece. According to NASA, the moonlight we see on Earth is sunlight reflected off the Moon's grayish-white surface. (NASA/Elias Chasiotis)
3/5 Flaming Nebula, Tadpole Nebula and Comet ZTF (March 1) - Flaming Star Nebula and the Tadpole Nebula can be seen crossing paths with the Comet ZTF. IC405, otherwise known as the Flaming Star Nebula, lies about 1,500 light-years away toward the constellation of Auriga and spans about 5 light-years across.  (NASA/Thomas Roell)
4/5 Spiral Galaxies NGC 3169 and NGC 3166 (March 2) - It is a stellar snapshot of Spiral Galaxy NGC 3169 and its neighbour NGC 3166. NGC 3169 is located almost 70 million light-years away in the constellation of Sextans (the Sextant). According to NASA, it is part of the Leo I Group of galaxies which is part of a larger galactic congregation known as the Virgo Supercluster.  (NASA/Mike Selby/Mark Hanson)
5/5 Supernova Remnant RCW 86 (March 3) - After the supernova explosion, its remnants are left behind, which are known as Supernova Remnants (SNR). NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day is an extremely rare and historical snapshot of Supernova Remnant RCW 86 which spans around 100 light-years and is located nearly 8000 light-years away.  (NASA/CTIO/NOIRLab/DOE/NSF/AURA)
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Asteroid 2015 BY310 belongs to the Amor group of asteroids. (Wikimedia Commons)

Ceres, which is the biggest asteroid in the solar system, has a diameter of 939 kilometers. However, an asteroid doesn't have to be as massive as Ceres to wipe out life on Earth and cause significant damage, according to NASA. In fact, an asteroid with a diameter of around 96 kilometers (about half the distance from Washington, D.C. to New York City) could be enough to completely extinguish life on Earth, and smaller asteroids can still cause considerable damage.

Now, NASA has issued a warning that a 470-foot asteroid is scheduled to pass by Earth today. If an asteroid as big as this were to hit Earth, especially a crowded city, it could result in a huge number of people being killed.

Asteroid 2015 BY310 information

Scientists are particularly intrigued by a massive asteroid known as Asteroid 2015 BY310, due to its colossal size. According to NASA, the asteroid is estimated to be roughly 470 feet wide, which is comparable in size to a towering skyscraper. Given its enormity, if Asteroid 2015 BY310 were to collide with the planet, it could cause immense destruction, particularly if it landed in a densely populated region.

As per the space agency, Asteroid 2015 BY310 is set to reach its nearest distance to Earth today, March 6, at a distance of 4 million kilometers. While this distance may seem considerable, it's relatively minor in terms of astronomical measurements, considering the massive size of the asteroid.

In fact, Asteroid 2015 BY310 is already dashing towards Earth, at a fiery speed of 27782 kilometers per hour!

NASA tech used to study asteroids

NASA not only uses its space telescopes and observatories like the NEOWISE to observe and study distant asteroids, but also a variety of ground-based telescopes such as the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) located in the Antofagasta Region of the Atacama Desert in Chile.

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. NASA can track the orbital path of the asteroid using this infrared data and can even predict its orbit years into the future. As of now, nearly 28,000 near-Earth asteroids have been discovered using various tech instruments which track objects in the sky.

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First Published Date: 07 Mar, 10:10 IST