A new asteroid with a diameter of about 4,500 feet is approaching Earth and will pass near our planet on August 21 at night. Asteroid 2016 AJ193 has been classified as ‘possibly hazardous’ by the US Space Agency NASA.
Massive speed of the asteroid
Even though the asteroid will pass Earth at a distance nine times that of the Earth and the moon, it will be traveling at a staggering 94,208 kilometers per hour. Furthermore, astronomers will be able to use a telescope to observe the 1.4-kilometer-wide asteroid passing by our planet in its orbit.
NASA listed it as ‘potentially hazardous’
NASA has classified asteroid 2016 AJ193 as ‘potentially hazardous,’ and has predicted that it will pass close to Earth again in 2063.
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When was the asteroid first spotted?
The Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) facility at Haleakala Observatory in Hawaii were the first to spot the asteroid in January 2016. According to astronomers, the asteroid is exceedingly dark and non-reflective. According to EarthSky, some details about the planet’s rotation period, pole direction, and spectral class are currently unknown.
For the unfamiliar, this asteroid rounds the Sun every 5.9 years and comes close to Earth, but it eventually moves beyond Jupiter’s orbit.
The date of August 21, i.e. today, is particularly significant since it is the first time the asteroid will pass so near to Earth, at least for the next 65 years, which is the longest duration for which its route has been estimated.
What are asteroids?
Asteroids are rocky particles leftover from the 4.6 billion-year-old origin of the solar system. An asteroid is categorized as a near-Earth object if its distance from our planet is less than 1.3 times the distance between Earth and the Sun, according to the Nasa Joint Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which tracks asteroid movement.
Over 26,000 near-Earth asteroids are tracked by Nasa, with over 1,000 of them considered potentially hazardous. To determine the asteroid’s location, the agency follows its movement around the Sun and computes an elliptical path that best fits the available observations.