A huge asteroid almost 2 kilometers in diameter will approach the Earth this friday may 27, according to NASA. Although this time the asteroid will pass almost 10 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, the space agency has classified the asteroid as “potentially dangerous”meaning it could do enormous damage to our planet if its orbit ever changes and the rock hits Earth.
As reported by NASA, 7335 (1989 JA) it is the largest asteroid that will approach Earth this year. Scientists estimate that the asteroid is traveling at approximately 76,000 kilometers per hour, a speed 20 times faster than that reached by a bullet. The rock won’t approach Earth again until June 23, 2055, when it will pass even farther than this flyby, roughly 70 times the distance between Earth and the Moon.
According to an article published in Live Science, this asteroid is one of the most 29,000 near-Earth objects (NEOs) that NASA tracks each year. Any astronomical object that approaches at least 48 million kilometers from Earth’s orbit is classified as NEO. The passage of the asteroid near the Earth will take place this friday at 16:26 Spanish time.
Most of these objects are extremely small: 7335 (1989 JA) is an outlier, because it is larger than about 99% of NEOs that NASA tracks. However, the approach of this type of body is not a minor issue: both the US space agency and other space agencies are studying various ways to deviate the trajectory of an asteroid that, at some point, is heading directly towards a collision destination. towards Earth.
Being classified as a potential danger, NASA is indicating that asteroid 7335 (1989 JA) could generate a catastrophic impact on our planet if at any time its orbit changes and the rock collides with the Earth. That is the main reason why NASA permanently monitors the behavior of this class of cosmic objects.
Visible from the southern hemisphere
The potentially dangerous asteroid has an estimated diameter of 1.8 kilometers, according to NASA. Because its size and location make it quite bright, it will be visible through small instruments, mainly from the southern hemisphere, according to a statement from The Virtual Telescope Project.
The Virtual Telescope Project is an advanced service provided by the Bellatrix Astronomical Observatory in Italy and managed by Dr. Gianluca Masi. It consists of several robotic telescopesaccessible remotely in real time through the Internet, which are used both for research tasks and for scientific dissemination.
In addition to organizing an online event to show the passage of the asteroid live From Chile and Australia, the researchers who are part of this project managed to capture a single 300-second exposure of 7335 (1989 JA), taken remotely with the “Elena” robotic unit. The telescope followed the fast and apparent movement of the asteroid, which is why the stars look like trails (see image).
When specialists captured the image, asteroid 7335 (1989 JA) was about 5.8 million km from Earth and slowly approached us. This large space rock was discovered by eleanor helin on May 1, 1989, from the Palomar Observatory, located in California, United States.