NASA asteroid tracker: LOOK OUT for a 320FT asteroid skim the Earth TOMORROW
The asteroid, dubbed by NASA Asteroid 2019 FV, will shoot past Earth on a so-called “Earth Close Approach” trajectory. NASA’s astronomers first observed the asteroid on March 26 and now expect it to arrive next to Earth on the afternoon of Saturday, April 6. The US space agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California predicts it will show up at 12.33pm BST (1.33pm UTC). This moment will mark the asteroid’s closest possible approach to our home planet.
When this happens, the space rock will move at speeds of around 17,246mph or 7.71km per second.
The JPL also estimates Asteroid FV is a formidable object, measuring somewhere in the range of 144.4ft to 324.8ft (44m to 99m) across.
According to NASA, tomorrow’s close brush will see the space rock come within 0.03840 astronomical units (au) of Earth.
One astronomical unit measures approximately 93 million miles (149.6 million km), which is the average distance from the Earth to the Sun.
This means the asteroid will near-miss us from a distance of 3.5 million miles (5.7 million km).
Near-Earth Objects can occasionally approach close to Earth
In other words, this is roughly the equivalent of the asteroid passing 14.94 times as far as the Moon.
This might not be enough for NASA to sound the alarm bells tomorrow but on the cosmic scale of distances, the asteroid’s flyby is a close shave.
Asteroid FV is a prime example of what astronomers refer to as “Near-Earth Objects” or “NEOs”.
NASA explained: “As they orbit the Sun, Near-Earth Objects can occasionally approach close to Earth.
“Note that a ‘close’ passage astronomically can be very far away in human terms: millions or even tens of millions of kilometres.”
NEOs are all comets and asteroids, which occasionally cut into the Earth’s orbit of the Sun.
Most of these imposing space rocks have been nudged into the inner rings of the solar system by the gravitational push and pull of the planets within.
And once every century or so, one of these asteroids slams into the Earth with brute force.
Thankfully, NASA does not expect Asteroid FV to cross paths with our home-world any time soon.
The space rock is expected to pass the Earth again this summer, on August 23.
FV will then skim the Earth again on March 12, 2023, on March 23, 2061, and on December 9, 2136.
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