21 August 2021

Asteroid speeding at 94,000 kmph has passed the Earth.

Stargazers across the globe can expect a rare astronomical event as asteroid 2016 AJ193 will fly past the earth at a distance of 3.4 million kilometres. The asteroid will be at the closest point to earth in more than six decades. 

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has listed asteroid 2016 AJ193 as ‘potentially hazardous’ because it is larger than 99 % of all known Near-Earth Objects(NEOs).

Astronomers will be able to watch the celestial body go past earth in its orbit through a telescope. The asteroid is 1.4 km wide and is larger than the famous Empire State Building in New York which is around 1,250 feet tall.

According to Earth Sky,"Closest approach to Earth will occur on August 21, 2021, at 11:10 a.m. ET (8:40pm IST). This means amateur astronomers with 8-inch telescopes (or larger) have an opportunity to see this asteroid glide by early on August 21, just hours before sunrise."

The asteroid will pass the Earth from a distance which is 8.9 times that of between Earth and its natural satellite,the Moon.

Scientists in NASA will observe the asteroid until 24 August to study its various features including the shape, size and spin.  The Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) facility in Hawaii's Haleakala Observatory.was the first to spot the asteroid in 2016.

Source: https://earthsky.org



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