Asteroid to zoom past Earth during one of the closest encounters ever recorded

Asteroid to zoom past Earth during one of the closest encounters ever recorded. Photo by Sdecoret

NASA says that an asteroid the size of a truck will pass only 2,200 miles from the Earth’s surface on Thursday, January 26, during one of the closest encounters ever recorded

An asteroid the size of a truck will have a very close encounter with Earth, as it will zoom over the southern tip of South America, at about 4.27 pm PST (7:27 p.m. EST).  

NASA said that the asteroid will be only 2,200 miles (3,600 kilometers) above the surface of Earth, well below the orbit of the geosynchronous satellites.  

According to experts from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, this asteroid is considered “one of the closest approaches by a known near-Earth object ever recorded”.  

“Scout impact hazard assessment system, which is maintained by the Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, analyzed the data from the MPC’s confirmation page and quickly predicted the near miss”, said a statement issued by NASA.

It added, “CNEOS calculates every known near-Earth asteroid orbit to provide assessments of potential impact hazards in support of NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO)”.  

Experts suggest that the asteroid estimated to be 11.5 to 28 feet (3.5 to 8.5 meters), will turn into a fireball as it enters the Earth’s atmosphere and largely disintegrate.

They also stated that some bigger debris will likely fall as small meteorites.  

The asteroid was first discovered by an amateur astronomer named Gennadiy Borisov in Crimea, Ukraine from his MARGO observatory in Nauchnyi on January 21.


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Written by

Imran Khan