Hyderabad, Apr 29: A huge Asteroid called "52768 (1998 OR2)" will have “closest approach to earth”, passing at a distance of 0.42 AU i.e. 62,90,364 km, at 3.26 pm on Wednesday.
This is the closest for this asteroid can get to earth in the next 59 years, Planetary Society of India (PSI) Director N Sri Raghunandan Kumar said. He said the size of this asteroid is estimated to be 1.8 km - 4.1 km and it’s moving at a speed of 8.7 km/sec. This asteroid was discovered on July 24, 1998 by Haleakalā High Altitude Observatory, Hawaii and is Categorized as NEO (Near Earth Object) and PHA (Potentially Hazardous Asteroid). Mr Kumar said through a live broadcast on April 27, NASA Scientists stated there is no chance for this space rock hitting the earth.
However in the Corona period, the social media is abuzz with videos creating fear and impact of this asteroid with Earth, he added. He said it also became an object for fear mongering by some doomsayers. Presently this asteroid revolves around the Sun once in every 1344 Days i.e. 3.68 years. After 2020, the next time this asteroid will have closest approach to Earth is on May 18 2031 at 0.12 AU (i.e. 1.9 Crore Km). Whereas the last time it came close to earth was on March 12 2009 and was at 0.17 AU (i.e. 2.6 Crore km) from Earth. Prior to 2009, this asteroid had closest approach to Earth on May 30, 1950 at a distance of 4.6 Crore km. Whereas compared to the 2020 approach it will be closer on April 16, 2079 travelling at a distance of 17,72,652 km (0.011 A.U.) from earth.
On an average, the Moon is located at 384,402 km from Earth which is roughly equal to 1 LD. So this Asteroid 52768 (1998 OR2) is predicted to pass at 0.04205 AU or 16.36 LD which means it will pass 16 Times of the distance between Moon and Earth. On the day of its closest approach, it will shine at 11 Magnitude and so this asteroid is not visible to naked eye but can be spotted with the help of Astronomical Telescopes, the PSI Director said. (UNI)