A amateur astronomer might be able catch a glimpse at an asteroid passing Earth at 43,000 mph tonight.
The asteroid, known as 7482 (1994 PC1), will make its closest approach to our planet at 21:51 GMT (16:51 EST) on Tuesday.
It measures 3,451 feet (1.052km) in circumference, which is larger than that of the Burj Khalifa, Dubai’s tallest building, is 2,722 feet high.
Asteroid 7482 (1994 PC1) will safely pass within 1.2 million miles of Earth — around five times farther away from the planet than the moon.
Tonight is the closest an asteroid has come to Earth since 1933 (when it was 699,900 miles from our planet).
According to EarthSky, 7482 (1994PC1) will not be visible to the naked eye, but amateur astronomers might be able see it through a backyard telescope in Pisces.
After its close approach on Tuesday, 7482 (1994 PC1) won’t be this close to Earth again until the year 2105, according to NASA JPL-Caltech’s Solar System Dynamics.
A massive asteroid that is more than twice as large as the Empire State Building in New York will pass within 1.2 Million Miles of Earth
An amateur astronomer may be able see an asteroid within the Pisces constellation with a simple backyard telescope
Sun (yellow) · Earth (blue) · 1994 PC1 (magenta)
Asteroid #7482 (1994 PC1) is an object that orbits around the sun once every 1.5 years. This was found for the first times by RH McNaught in 1994, using the Siding Springs Observatory in New South Wales.
Astronomers know a lot about its orbit. It ranges between 0.9 AU and 1.8 AU. The distance between Earth’s surface and the sun is 1 AU.
This asteroid is common and stony S type. Astronomers have the opportunity to observe the surface of the asteroid and find out more about the ancient space rocks.
NASA and other agencies track over 28,000 asteroids in orbit around the Sun. Sometimes, they cross Earth’s orbit.
NASA claims that none of the asteroids known to have collided with Earth in the immediate future. However, there are other asteroids whose orbits aren’t yet known.
Asteroids and other space objects are being monitored by NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies. The Center for Near Earth Object Studies (NASA) defines 7482 (1994PC1) as an asteroid and potentially dangerous object (NEO).
NEOs are an asteroid or comet whose orbit brings it into or through a zone between approximately 91 million and 121 million miles (195 million km) from the Sun, meaning that it can pass within about 30 million miles (50 million km) of Earth’s orbit.
The Sun is orbited by Asteroid 74282 (1994 PC1) every 1.5 years. Here is a diagram of its orbit relative to the other planets in our Solar System
A potentially dangerous object (PHO) is one that is greater than 460 feet (1140 meters).
‘NEOs are comets and asteroids that have been nudged by the gravitational attraction of nearby planets into orbits that allow them to enter the Earth’s neighbourhood,’ said NASA.
Composed of mostly water ice, embedded dust particles and other elements, comets were originally created in the outer planetary systems. Most of the rocky asteroids evolved in the inner solar system where they orbited Jupiter and Mars.
“The science of comets, asteroids and other remnants from the formation of the solar system some 4.6 billion year ago is what has attracted scientific attention to them.”
As of Tuesday, NASA data showed that there had been 27948 NEOs.
There are approximately 25,000 Near-Earth Objects (NEOs), which can be larger than 460 feet (135 metres).
Additionally, there are approximately 1,000 NEOs that exceed 3280 feet (1 km), making it important to track these space rocks.
According to NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program, Earth gets hit on average by a rock of football pitch size every 5,000 years and a civilisation-ending asteroid each one million years.
The Earth is safe from the space rock, 7482 (1994PC1)), as it travels at 43,000 mph, which is five times faster than the Moon.
NASA launched the Double Asteroid Redirection Test mission in November to address the potential threat from asteroids.
DART was launched from SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. It will be seen intentionally crash into an asteroid’s surface in October.
It will be heading toward the moonlet asteroid Dimorphos. This orbits Didymos, a bigger companion asteroid.
It will crash into an asteroid in order to change its orbit slightly once it reaches there.
Although neither an asteroid is threatening Earth, DART’s Kinetic Impact will show that spacecraft can independently navigate to target asteroid to impact it.
The mission uses Earth-based telescopes for measuring the impacts on the asteroid systems. It will also improve modeling and predictive capabilities, helping us to better prepare ourselves in case of an actual threat from an asteroid.
DART could be used to alter the trajectory of an asteroid before it strikes Earth.
DART and Dimorphos will be smashed into each other at 13.500mph (21.700km per hour) by DART. Here is Dimorphos compared to Rome’s Colosseum
NASA explained that even a slight nudge could make an enormous difference in the future location of the asteroid. The Earth would then not be on a collision path with it.
Scientists are always looking for asteroids, and they plot their routes to see if any of them could reach the planet.
“Although we don’t know of any asteroid currently on impact with Earth, it is known that there are a lot of nearby asteroids,” said Lindley Johnson (NASA’s planetary defense officer).