Could this oncoming asteroid impact Earth and cause damage? Here’s what NASA said about this space rock.
Asteroids are rocky airless remnants left over from the early formation of our solar system about 4.6 billion years ago. Most of them are irregularly shaped, though a few are nearly spherical, and they are often pitted or cratered. As these space rocks revolve around the Sun in their elliptical orbits, the asteroids also rotate, sometimes quite erratically, tumbling as they go, according to NASA.
Asteroids often make close approaches to Earth, generally missing the planet by a couple of million kilometers. Some get as close as the our Moon is and some as close as our satellites are. And indeed, some crash into the planet too. COnsidering this fact, they are all monitored by NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office which keeps an eye on these Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) for any potential impact.
Now, the organization has warned that an 80-foot asteroid is hurtling towards Earth today at amazing speed and close approach to Earth.
Key information about Asteroid 2020 BP
NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office, which keeps an eye on dangerous Near-Earth Objects (NEOs), has red-flagged an asteroid named Asteroid 2020 BP due to its extremely close approach to the planet. The asteroid will make its closest approach to Earth today, January 19, at a distance of 3.5 million kilometers.
According to NASA, the space rock is already on its way towards the planet travelling at a fiery speed of nearly 62084 kilometers per hour, which is much faster than the speed of a hypersonic ballistic missile! Asteroid 2020 BP has a width of 80 feet. That means this space rock is the size of a commercial aircraft!
According to the-sky.org, the Asteroid 2020 BP belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids. It was discovered nearly 2 years ago on January 18, 2020. This asteroid takes 1089 days to complete one trip around the Sun during which its maximum distance from the Sun is 508 million kilometers and nearest distance is 111 million kilometers.
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 using various space and ground-based telescopes such as NASA’s NEOWISE telescope and its brand-new Sentry II algorithm. 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 time.
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