NASA has revealed that the orbit of one asteroid will bring them close to Earth today, January 8. It is a mammoth asteroid that has been declared as a ‘Potentially Hazardous Object’. This means it could pose a danger to Earth if it impacts. This space rock was spotted by NASA’s Defense Coordination Office (PDCO), which is responsible for monitoring the skies and keeping a watch on various Near-Earth Objects (NEOs). Know the details of its close approach. NASA has a suite of advanced tech equipment used for observing and monitoring Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) such as asteroids, comets, and more. Check out the details of this close encounter.
Asteroid 2002 AY1: Speed, size, and more
The asteroid has been designated as Asteroid 2002 AY1 by NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS). It will come close to Earth today, January 8. This Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA) is expected to make its closest approach to the planet at a speed of about 62421 kilometers per hour. During its closest approach, it will pass by the planet at a distance of approximately 5.8 million kilometers. It is important to note that while it has been termed as a Near-Earth Asteroid as well as a Potentially Hazardous asteroid due to its close distance of passing, it is not expected to actually impact the planet.
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.
How big is the asteroid?
According to NASA, Asteroid 2002 AY1 is approximately 720 feet wide, making it almost as big as a stadium! While this distance of approach of this asteroid may seem considerable, it’s relatively minor in terms of astronomical measurements, considering the massive size of the asteroid.
According to NASA, this is not the first time that Asteroid 2002 AY1 has come close to Earth. It first passed the planet on January 2, 1901, at a distance of 32 million kilometers. After today, it will come close to Earth again on December 25, 2025, at a distance of 50 million kilometers.
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