September 28, 2021

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Five times the lunar distance – the largest asteroid of the year will pass over Earth next week

A cosmic fragment is approaching Earth at an unusually high speed. Astronomers reject a collision.

NASA hears FO32 after 2001: View from the dome of an infrared telescope on the inactive Mona Kee volcano in Hawaii.

Photo: NASA

A large asteroid will hit Earth next week – about two million kilometers away. As the US space agency NASA announced on Thursday, 2001 FO32 is the largest asteroid to cross Earth this year and has a diameter of at least one kilometer. It was first discovered 20 years ago and scientists are following its path through space.

At a speed of about 124,000 kilometers per hour, FO32 is faster than most asteroids in 2001, according to NASA. According to Lance Penner, a scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, his flight to Earth offers researchers “a unique opportunity to learn a lot about him.” Entertainment astronomers in the Southern Hemisphere can observe it with medium-sized telescopes.

2001 FO32's Orbit: The outer point of the asteroid's orbit is twice as far from Mars as the Sun, and the inner point is in the orbit of Mercury - Earth in its center.

2001 FO32’s Orbit: The outer point of the asteroid’s orbit is twice as far from Mars as the Sun, and the inner point is in the orbit of Mercury – Earth in its center.

Graphic: NASA

The asteroid is approaching within two million kilometers. This is five times the distance between the Earth and the Moon. It was discovered in March 2001 by the Lincoln Institute for Exploration for Earth near asteroids (linear) and later observed several times by the Neovis space telescope. NASA Writes.

There is no risk of conflict

Astronomers also like to use the adjacent passage to explore the exact composition of the astronomical body. NASA wants to use the infrared telescope in Hawaii for this purpose. With other telescopes, researchers also like to try to find large surface structures such as craters.

According to NASA, there is no danger of the asteroid colliding with Earth. About 95 percent of all asteroids in this size class are known. However, researchers want to gather more information in order to find more objects and find ways to divert cosmic particles from their orbit, one must always go to Earth.

AFP / oli

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