NASA has warned that an aircraft-sized asteroid is hurtling towards Earth today! How dangerous is it?
NASA has deployed its latest and most complicated technological assets to keep a close watch on the dangerous asteroids coming towards Earth. NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office is responsible for monitoring the skies and keeping a watch on various Near-Earth Objects (NEOs). If any celestial object is at risk of Earth impact, it red flags and issues the alert. NASA has red flagged an asteroid named Asteroid 2022 SC9 which is expected to fly past Earth at an extremely close distance. Although the asteroid is not heading for impact with Earth, it was still classified as a Potentially Hazardous Object due to the close proximity with which it will pass by Earth. It could head for impact with Earth if it deviates from its path due to interaction with Earth’s gravitational field or some other extraneous force.
Asteroids which come closer than 8 million kilometers from Earth’s orbit are classified as potentially hazardous asteroids, according to NASA.
Asteroid 2022 SC9 hurtling towards Earth today, Oct 3
NASA has warned that Asteroid 2022 SC9 is on its way towards Earth travelling at a staggering speed of 54972 kilometers per hour. It will make its closest approach to the planet today, at a distance of 5 million kilometers. According to NASA, Asteroid 2022 SC9 is almost the size of a commercial aircraft with a width of nearly 140 feet.
According to the-sky.org, Asteroid 2022 SC9 belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids which are a group of near-Earth asteroids named after the humongous 1862 Apollo asteroid, discovered by German astronomer Karl Reinmuth in the 1930s. Asteroid 2022 SC9 orbits the Sun in around 466 days. During this trip, its farthest point from the Sun is at 264 million kilometers and its nearest point is 88 million kilometers.
After today’s flyby, Asteroid 2022 SC9’s next close approach with Earth will take place on October 6, 2082, at a distance of around 11.28 million kilometers.
How is an Asteroid Orbit Calculated?
An asteroid’s orbit is computed by finding the elliptical path about the sun that best fits the available observations of the object using various space and ground-based telescopes such as NASA’s NEOWISE telescope and its brand-new Sentry II algorithm. That is, the object’s computed path about the sun is adjusted until the predictions of where the asteroid should have appeared in the sky at several observed times match the positions where the object was actually observed to be at those same time.