Mask Wearing Asteroid Approaching Earth At High Speed; New Problem To Deal With?

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We're about to witness another cosmic event today, April 29. An asteroid named 1998 OR2 is expected to flyby Earth at a distance of 6.2 million km away. As far as the distance seems, it's quite a close brush with our planet, which has been dubbed as a Potentially Hazardous Object or PHO. However, the asteroid won't harm the Earth.

Mask Wearing Asteroid Approaching Earth At High Speed

 

Massive Asteroid Details

According to the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, the 1998 OR2 will harmlessly flyby the Earth today, giving us a chance to witness a cosmic event. Initially, the observatory observed the asteroid on April 13 and continued observing it till April 23. However, at this point, it was no longer visible from the observatory itself.

The observation from the scientists noted that the asteroid is at least 2 km in diameter and rotates once every 4.1 hours. This easily places the asteroid in the PHO group as any asteroid that is bigger than 140 meters and comes within 8 million km of Earth orbit is classified as a Potentially Hazardous Object.

Is It Dangerous?

Although astronomers have grouped the asteroid 1998 OR2 as potentially hazardous, it is expected to flyby without causing any harm. At the same time, NASA noted that if the asteroid did impact the Earth, it is large enough to cause global effects.

Mask Wearing Asteroid Approaching Earth At High Speed

However, there is no immediate threat or impact detected to worry about. What's more, scientists have joked that the latest image of the asteroid looks like it's wearing a mask due to the dust and debris around it or possible due to the global pandemic on Earth.

 

At the same time, researchers are stressing the importance of knowing the radar measurements to help future studies. "In 2079, asteroid 1998 OR2 will pass Earth about 3.5 times closer than it will this year, so it is important to know its orbit precisely," Flaviane Venditti, a research scientist at the Arecibo Observatory said.

How To Watch Live?

Interested viewers can see the asteroid flyby on various websites. The Virtual Telescope is one of the sites where the entire event will be telecasted live, allowing users to stream it. The flyby is expected to occur around 6 AM ET, according to NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies.

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