- nemesis maturity
An asteroid as big as a mountain will safely swing past Earth next week. The asteroid is circling the Sun on an orbit that will bring it within a “close” distance to Earth. Named by astronomers Asteroid (52768) 1998 OR2, the space rock measures up to 2.1 km (1.3 mi) across. According to experts, the asteroid will be bright enough for small telescopes to spot it. Professional observatories have been pointing their telescopes at the huge space rock already. Amateur astronomers with smaller telescopes will also have an opportunity to see it as a slow-moving “star.” Closest approach will be April 29 around 09:56 UTC (5:56 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time) coming at about 6.3 millions of kilometres (3.9 million miles) from the Earth. Astronomers at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico have been studying the asteroid since April 18, as it’s traveled through space at 19,461 miles per hour (31,320 km/h). High-resolution radar images from Arecibo, showing the first glimpses of this large asteroid. The images uniquely revealed the overall shape of the asteroid and some smaller-scale topographic features, such as hills and ridges. Space agencies say that “there’s no chance of a collision between this asteroid and Earth. The orbit of this asteroid is well known for at least the next 200 years”. Its closest approach to Earth in this century and the next will happen in 2079, when it’ll swoop to within about a million miles of Earth. Asteroid (52768) 1998 OR2 is the largest known of all large Near-Earth Objects that’ll pass less than five times the Earth-moon distance over the next two centuries!