Due to the constant barrage of asteroids, NASA and other space agencies developed an arsenal of space and ground-based telescopes to discover and track these ancient space rocks. Now, the US space agency, with the help of its advanced ground and space-based telescopes, has shed light on a colossal asteroid that is expected to pass Earth by a close margin today, December 20. The asteroid’s orbit will bring it very close to Earth, and this is known as a “Close Approach”, as per NASA. Know the details of the upcoming close encounter of the Earth with this Empire State Building-sized asteroid.
Asteroid 2008 EV5: Details
The asteroid has been designated as Asteroid 2008 EV5 or 341843 by NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS). It has piqued the interest of astronomers and NASA experts due to its colossal size. According to NASA, the asteroid is estimated to be roughly 1100 feet wide, which is comparable in size to the famous Empire State Building! Given its enormity, if Asteroid 2008 EV5 were to collide with the planet, it could potentially cause immense destruction, especially if it landed in a densely populated region.
As per the space agency, Asteroid 2008 EV5 is set to pass Earth at its nearest distance today, December 20, at a distance of 6.3 million kilometers. While this distance may seem considerable, it’s relatively minor in terms of astronomical measurements, considering the massive size of the asteroid. Asteroid 2008 EV5 is already moving towards Earth in its orbit at a breakneck speed of 19243 kilometers per hour!
It has been added to NASA’s Close Approaches list and has also been declared as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid due to its close distance of approach as well as its enormous size.
It belongs to the Aten group of asteroids, which are Earth-crossing Near-Earth Asteroids (NEAs) with semi-major axes smaller than Earth’s. They are named after the asteroid 2062 Aten and the first of its kind was discovered by American astronomer Eleanor Helin at Palomar Observatory on January 7, 1976.