Large “Potentially Hazardous” Asteroid NASA Has Been Tracking for 22 Years Will Fly Past Earth Today

| April 29, 2020

Near-Earth Object. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The large near-Earth object is well known to astronomers and will get no closer than 3.9 million miles to our planet.

A large near-Earth asteroid will safely pass by our planet on Wednesday morning, providing astronomers with an exceptional opportunity to study the 1.5-mile-wide (2-kilometer-wide) object in great detail.

The asteroid, called 1998 OR2, will make its closest approach at 5:55 a.m. EDT (2:55 a.m. PDT). While this is known as a “close approach” by astronomers, it’s still very far away: The asteroid will get no closer than about 3.9 million miles (6.3 million kilometers), passing more than 16 times farther away than the Moon.

This GIF, composed of observations by the Virtual Telescope Project, shows asteroid 1998 OR2 (the central dot) as it traversed the constellation Hydra five days before its closest approach to Earth. It was about 4.4 million miles (7.08 million kilometers) away from Earth at the time. Credit: Dr. Gianluca Masi (Virtual Telescope Project)

Asteroid 1998 OR2 was discovered by the Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking program at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in July 1998, and for the past two decades astronomers have tracked it. As a result, we understand its orbital trajectory very precisely, and we can say with confidence that this asteroid poses no possibility of impact for at least the next 200 years. Its next close approach to Earth will occur in 2079, when it will pass by closer — only about four times the lunar distance.

Read the rest here: Sci Tech Daily

Category: It's science!, NASA, S&T

Comments (18)

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  1. 26Limabeans says:

    Wow! That’s a big one. No big deal but wow, that
    thing is huge.

    I check this site daily for propagation stuff
    and they track all the close calls. Most of the
    really close ones go by before they are noticed.
    Scroll down for the chart listing this one for
    comparison to others in size, miss distance etc.

  2. Ex-PH2 says:

    Looks rather like a loaf of pumpernickel before it gets to sit in the bowl to rise.

  3. 5th/77th FA says:

    So we were not DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMED!!! by this one, but it will have another shot at us in 59 years? The blue orb has been hit before and we will be hit again, eventually if not sooner. Isn’t that what took out the dinos? And isn’t there a big hole in the ground, like a Crater, that was caused by one of these? And another fairly large one hit Siberia awhile back. Cool pictures and Imma glad somebody is keeping an eye on these, not that we could do anything if it came roaring thru the sky towards impact. Assume the position…put your head between your legs and kiss your ass good bye. Wonder how big it would be when it did hit?

    • Slow Joe says:

      The 1908 Tunguska meteorite?

      Nah. That was a little one. Few people noticed when it impacted.

  4. Hack Stone says:

    How come the Trump Administration hasn’t done anything about this? If Hillary Clinton was occupying The White House, we would never be experiencing these kind of threats.

    • Mason says:

      He’s far too busy holding people down and injecting them with bleach to deal with a rock flying by.

  5. Hack Stone says:

    Asked about the the threat of an asteroid to Earth, Joe Biden recommended launching a 500 foot tube of Preparation H into space as a deterrent.

  6. If earth would be in danger of getting hit by the asteroid, the DOD could maybe email Ming the Merciless up on the planet Mongo and have his crew zap and razzle dazzle the asteroid with a ray gun cannon. I wonder if his daughter Princess Aura ever got married.

  7. Slow Joe says:

    If we survive the next 50 years without a major impact, we will be out of the woods.

    In 50 years, roughly speaking, of course, our technology will be capable of dealing with this type of threat.

  8. Roh-Dog says:

    Dang. Better luck next time?

  9. A Proud Infidel®™ says:

    Oh well, what’s the next Earth-shattering apocalypse DuJour?