Skyscraper-sized asteroid to buzz Earth today! NASA Tracks Impending Earth Flyby

NASA expects a 450 feet wide asteroid to make a close approach to Earth as soon as today. Check out its speed, distance and other details, as revealed by NASA.

| Updated on: Feb 28 2023, 11:00 IST
Best NASA Astronomy Pictures of the week: Double Galaxy Cluster, Comet ZTF and more
NGC 1850
1/5 Double Star Cluster (Feb 20) - It is a 100-million-year-old globular star cluster located 160,000 light-years away in the constellation Dorado. What’s unusual about this star cluster is its size and shape is reminiscent of the other ancient star clusters in the Milky Way Galaxy. However, this double star cluster is not present in our galaxy and belongs in the Large Magellanic Cloud. (NASA/ESA/Hubble/Paul Goudfrooij(STScI))
Comet ZTF
2/5 Comet ZTF (Feb 21) - It is a mesmerizing picture of Comet ZTF streaking across the skies over Yosemite Falls located in the Sierra Nevada region of California. According to NASA, this comet was discovered by astronomers using the wide-field survey camera at the Zwicky Transient Facility in 2022 in March last year. (NASA/Tara Mostofi)
3/5 Rising Solar Activity (Feb 22) - This picture is a snapshot of the rising activity on the surface of the Sun. This image was captured two weeks ago in a single colour of light known as Hydrogen Alpha. Solar prominences can be observed hurling out from the surface while the Sun’s edges are brighter due to increased absorption of relatively cool solar gas. (NASA/Mehmet Ergun)
Spiral Galaxy
4/5 Spiral Galaxy Arp 78 (Feb 23) - A peculiar spiral galaxy called Arp 78 can be seen in this image. It is an enormous galaxy which spans nearly 200,000 light-years across and exists almost 100 million light-years away in the constellation Aries. Arp 78 is also known as NGC 772. Alongside Arp 78, another faint galaxy can be seen, which is NGC 770.  (NASA/Josep Drudis)
Headphone Nebula
5/5 Headphone Nebula Jones-Emberson 1 (Feb 24) - A stellar nebula known as Jones-Emberson 1 also called as the Headphone Nebula owing to its peculiar headphone-like shape. The Headphone Nebula is located about 1600 light-years away from Earth in the constellation Lynx. (NASA/Serge Brunier/Jean-Francois Bax/David Vernet/ C2PU/OCA)
NASA asteroid
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Asteroid 2006 BE55 belongs to the Apollo group of Near-Earth Asteroids. (Bloomberg)

NASA telescopes such as the Pans-STARRS1 located in Maui, Hawaii, and the Catalina Sky Survey situated near Tucson, Arizona, have conducted surveys that have detected numerous near-Earth objects like asteroids. Additionally, NEOWISE, NASA's space-based observatory, has identified hundreds of asteroids by scanning the skies with near-infrared wavelengths of light from its orbit around Earth's poles. To collect accurate information about an asteroid's trajectory and attributes, NASA employs its ground-based radar.

Using such advanced technology, NASA has recently discovered another asteroid that could potentially come close to Earth as early as today.

Asteroid 2006 BE55

NASA has issued a warning about a particular asteroid called Asteroid 2006 BE55, as it will be approaching very close to Earth. The asteroid is currently traveling at a speed of almost 47966 kilometers per hour and is set to make its closest approach to Earth today, February 28, at a distance of 3.5 million kilometers per hour.

NASA and other space agencies are worried about the potential impact of Asteroid 2006 BE55 because of its massive size. Measuring around 450 feet in width, the asteroid is roughly the same size as a skyscraper. If it were to collide with Earth, especially in a densely populated region, it could result in significant harm to both life and property. However, the chances of that happening are even less than negligible to none, as far as this asteroid is concerned.

Importance of studying asteroids

Scientists study asteroids to learn more about the early solar system and the conditions that existed when the planets were forming. Asteroids can also provide valuable resources such as water, metals, and other minerals. One such discovery was made by studying an asteroid.

Until now, it was believed that water was already present on Earth from earliest times. However, a recent study has made an astonishing discovery that puts this very thought into doubt. The study has revealed that water may have originated on asteroids.

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First Published Date: 28 Feb, 10:23 IST