PARIS, France — A peanut-shaped asteroid 1.three kilometers (three,280 ft) throughout streaked past Earth on Wednesday, giving astronomers a uncommon probability to take a look at a giant house rock up shut.
But not too shut.
Dubbed 2014-JO25, the asteroid got here nearest at 12:20 GMT and is now hurtling away from the middle of our photo voltaic system, stated Ian Carnelli, an astronomer from the European Space Agency (ESA).
READ: Large asteroid in close to miss with Earth on April 19
“It does not represent a danger to our planet,” Carnelli informed AFP, noting that the asteroid handed inside 1.eight million kilometers (1.1 million miles) of Earth — about 4 occasions the gap to the moon.
The Arecibo observatory in Puerto Rico — which has one of many world’s greatest radio telescopes — captured the 2014 JO25’s first photographs, exhibiting an object that’s possible “two large asteroids that fused together”.
The house projectile will stay seen to onlookers outfitted with a telescope within the northern hemisphere on Wednesday evening.
Herewith, a bit primer on near-Earth asteroids and the hazard they pose (or not).
You could not see them, however house rocks whizz above our heads on a regular basis.
Patrick Michel, an astronomer on the Cote d’Azur Observatory, estimates that a mean of 10,000 to 100,000 tons of spatial materials come into our common neighborhood annually.
But giant asteroids passing this near Earth stay a rarity.
“The next one will pass by in 2027, a 800-metre long object that will come within” one Earth-to-the-Moon distance, he stated.
The final time 2014-JO25 was in our neighborhood was 400 years in the past, and its subsequent shut encounter with Earth received’t occur till someday after 2600.
2014-JO25 doesn’t symbolize a right away hazard. But it does fall inside the class of “potentially hazardous asteroids” that astronomers monitor for security, Pascal Descamps, an astronomer on the Paris Observatory informed AFP by telephone.
Any house rock at the very least one kilometer (zero.6 miles) throughout that travels inside 7 million kilometers (four.three million miles) of Earth qualifies.
The excellent news is that scientists have recognized at the very least 90 p.c of those flying hazards inside our photo voltaic system.
“There isn’t a single one that threatens us in the short term, meaning in the next few centuries,” Michel stated.
“There are thousands of asteroids larger than one kilometer,” he added. “The frequency with which they could hit us is once every 500,000 years, so we are facing a risk that is very low.”
A knock-out blow
Many sizeable asteroids have crashed into Earth or exploded in our ambiance, abandoning large craters — and clues as to their composition.
More than 60,000 years in the past, a 30-metre (98-foot) rock crashed into what’s at the moment Arizona.
And 65 million years in the past, a fair greater asteroid slammed into Earth a bit additional south, resulting in the extinction of non-avian dinosaurs.
A one-kilometer asteroid hitting our planet at the moment could be like “a million Hiroshima bombs,” Michel stated, and set off the extinction of roughly 1 / 4 of all species.
“A 10-kilometre object… would provoke the extinction of our species,” he added.
What could be accomplished?
To forestall such a disaster, a workforce of astronomers from NASA and the European Space Agency have drawn up plans for a reside take a look at in house: deviating a probably lethal asteroid.
An self-guided 400-kilo satellite tv for pc — hurtling at six kilometers per second — would goal an approaching asteroid.
The goal wouldn’t be to destroy the article, however to deflect it, since fragments may then crash into Earth. A goal has been chosen.
So far, nevertheless, funding has not been accepted. CBB
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