NASA warns of 190-foot asteroid rushing towards Earth, reveals top speed, trajectory | Tech News

NASA warns of 190-foot asteroid rushing towards Earth, reveals top speed, trajectory

A humongous 190-foot asteroid is heading towards Earth and it could make a close approach as soon as today! Is there cause for worry? How close will it get?

| Updated on: Jan 04 2023, 10:23 IST
What is your favourite Hubble Telescope image? NASA wants to know
1/5 If you are interested in space, you must be excited about all the images shared by the various space telescopes. In 2022, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has captured and shared several beautiful images. And NASA wants to know which one is your favourite Hubble Telescope image of 2022? In its latest Twitter post, NASA's Hubble Telescope has shared 4 images released in 2022 and has asked to vote for your favourite image. It can be known that the four images shared by the Hubble Space Telescope are of DEM L 190, NGC 976, HCG 40, and Terzan 2. (Hubble Space Telescope)
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2/5 DEM L 190, is a remnant from a massive star that died in a supernova blast whose light would have reached Earth thousands of years ago. This filamentary material will eventually be recycled into building new generations of stars. Our own sun and planets are constructed from similar debris of supernovae that exploded in the Milky Way billions of years ago, according to NASA. (Hubble Space Telescope)
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3/5 The galaxy NGC 976 lies around 150 million light-years from the Milky Way in the constellation Aries. Despite its tranquil appearance, NGC 976 has played host to one of the most violent astronomical phenomena known – a supernova explosion. These cataclysmically violent events take place at the end of the lives of massive stars and can outshine entire galaxies for a short period. While supernovae mark the deaths of massive stars, they are also responsible for the creation of heavy elements that are incorporated into later generations of stars and planets. (Hubble Space Telescope)
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4/5 The Hickson Compact Group 40 (HCG 40) is an unusual close-knit collection of five galaxies. This menagerie includes three spiral-shaped galaxies, an elliptical galaxy, and a lenticular (lens-like) galaxy. Somehow, these different galaxies crossed paths in their evolution to create an exceptionally crowded and eclectic galaxy sampler. Caught in a leisurely gravitational dance, the whole group is so crowded that it could fit within a region of space that is less than twice the diameter of our Milky Way's stellar disk. (Hubble Space Telescope)
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5/5 The Terzan 2 is a globular cluster in the constellation Scorpio. Globular clusters are stable, tightly gravitationally bound clusters of tens of thousands to millions of stars found in a wide variety of galaxies. The intense gravitational attraction between the closely packed stars gives globular clusters a regular, spherical shape. As a result, images of the hearts of globular clusters, such as this observation of Terzan 2, are crowded with a multitude of glittering stars. (Hubble Space Telescope)
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This aircraft-sized asteroid is rushing towards a close encounter with Earth today. (Pixabay)

NASA's Near-Earth Object Wide Field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) completes its trip around the Sun every 12 months, like Earth. The survey telescope takes images throughout its journey which are then stitched together to form a sky-map, according to NASA. This sky-map shows the positions and the brightness of millions of celestial objects in space. NEOWISE also helps scientists keep a watch for any asteroids which could potentially impact the Earth. And new ones are being found frequently. NASA has now issued an asteroid warning for an asteroid which is heading for Earth today.

Asteroid 2019 AY3 details

NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office has issued an alert against an asteroid named Asteroid 2019 AY3. The humongous 190 feet wide asteroid, similar to the size of a commercial aircraft, is expected to fly past Earth today, January 4, at a distance of 6.4 million kilometers. The asteroid is already on its way towards Earth, travelling at a staggering speed of 71704 kilometers per hour, making it one of the fastest asteroids to fly close to Earth in the past few days.

Although this asteroid is not expected to impact Earth, but even a slight deviation in the asteroid's path due to interaction with the planet's gravitational field could change its trajectory and send it tumbling towards Earth's surface with catastrophic consequences.

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Most of these asteroids are observed with the help of the NEOWISE Project which repurposed NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer to work as a survey telescope and scan the sky for Near-Earth Objects. NASA then uses its ground-based radar to gather precise data about the asteroid's path and its characteristics.

NASA's sky-map

As of now, NASA has stitched 18 sky maps together using the images captured by the NEOWISE, with 19th and 20th maps to be released around March 2023. With the help of these maps, NASA scientists have created a time-lapse of the sky, showing the changes in position of numerous celestial objects, spanning across the last decade.

This move will help in better understanding of our Universe and enable scientists to study the changes in positions and brightness of space objects in the last decade. This is called Time-Domain Astronomy.

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First Published Date: 04 Jan, 10:22 IST