Thrilling encounter: Asteroid 2022 QT7 to zoom past Earth today

A huge asteroid named Asteroid 2022 QT7 is expected to just about miss Earth today and fly off back into deep space.

| Updated on: Sep 01 2022, 10:01 IST
Asteroid fun facts in pics: NASA reveals all you need to know
1/5 Space is full of objects, out of which only a few have been discovered. Asteroids are some of these objects. If you are not aware about the dangerous objects called asteroids, here are some facts you should know. First, did you know that asteroids are sometimes called minor planets? Well, they are. (Pixabay)
2/5 Differences between an Asteroid, Comet, Meteoroid, Meteor and Meteorite: According to the information provided by NASA, Asteroid is a relatively small, inactive, rocky body orbiting the Sun. Comet is a relatively small, at times active, object whose ice can vaporize in sunlight forming an atmosphere (coma) of dust and gas and, sometimes, a tail of dust and/or gas. Meteoroid is a small particle from a comet or asteroid orbiting the Sun. Meteor is the light phenomena which results when a meteoroid enters the Earth's atmosphere and vaporizes, in short, a shooting star. While, Meteorite is a meteoroid that survives its passage through the Earth's atmosphere and lands upon the Earth's surface. (NASA)
3/5 Asteroid: Size, frequency and impact- More than 100 tons of dust and sand sized particles are bombarded towards Earth everyday, according to NASA. While, about once a year, an automobile-sized asteroid hits Earth's atmosphere, creates an impressive fireball, and burns up before reaching the surface. Every 2,000 years or so, a meteoroid the size of a football field hits Earth and causes significant damage to the area. Only once every few million years, an object large enough to threaten Earth's civilization comes along. Impact craters on Earth, the moon and other planetary bodies are evidence of these occurrences. Space rocks smaller than about 25 meters (about 82 feet) will most likely burn up as they enter the Earth's atmosphere and cause little or no damage. By comparison, asteroids that populate the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, and pose no threat to Earth, can be as big as 940 kilometers (about 583 miles) across. (NASA)
4/5 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. 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 times. (Pixabay)
5/5 What is NASA doing to find and learn more about potentially hazardous asteroids and comets? NASA has established a Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO), managed in the Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. The PDCO ensures the early detection of potentially hazardous objects (PHOs) - asteroids and comets whose orbits are predicted to bring them within 0.05 Astronomical Units of Earth (5 million miles or 8 million kilometers) and of a size large enough to reach Earth's surface - that is, greater than approximately 30 to 50 meters. NASA tracks and characterizes these objects and issues warnings about potential impacts, providing timely and accurate information. NASA also leads the coordination of U.S. Government planning for response to an actual impact threat. (AFP)
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Asteroid 2022 QT7 is the fifth asteroid to pass by Earth in a span of just 22 days. (Pixabay)

An asteroid is a small, rocky object and when seen in a telescope, it appears as a point of light, according to NASA. Asteroids are loose space missiles, which, if they crash into something, can be immensely destructive. Most asteroids are found in a ring between the orbit of Mars and Jupiter called the asteroid belt. These celestial objects are the remains of the period during which our solar system formed, over 4.6 billion years ago. Asteroids come in all shapes and sizes, with the largest being nearly 530 kilometers in diameter called Vesta. Others are smaller at around 100 feet and even less. Earth is being bombarded with asteroids this year. August alone has seen more than 40 asteroids passing by Earth closely. Now, the first asteroid of September is already on its way.

Asteroid 2022 QT7 to zoom past Earth

A 110-foot asteroid named Asteroid 2022 QT7 is expected to fly past Earth today, September 1. The asteroid is already on its way towards Earth, travelling at a staggering speed of 27,288 kilometers per hour. Nasa has issued a warning classifying the Asteroid 2022 QT7 as a “Potentially Hazardous Object” due to the close proximity with which it will pass by Earth. Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) which pass by Earth within 8 million kilometers of the planet are classified as potentially hazardous objects. Although they don't collide with Earth, a slight deviation in their trajectory due to the Earth's gravitational pull can send them towards Earth for an impact

The Asteroid 2022 QT7 is expected to make its closest approach to Earth today, September 1, at a distance of just 470,000 kilometers. That makes it one of the closest asteroids to pass by Earth this year.

NASA to try Artemis 1 launch again tomorrow

Meanwhile, in another space news, Nasa postponed the launch of the Artemis 1 mission, which was to blast off on August 29, due to a malfunction in one of the four RS-25 engines of the new Space Launch System (SLS). The mission was scheduled for launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. However, a malfunction in one of the engines of the SLS caused engine 3 to bleed less, therefore delaying the launch. The launch was ultimately scrubbed for a later date. Nasa is expected to attempt another launch at 12:48pm EDT tomorrow, September 2.

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First Published Date: 01 Sep, 10:01 IST