February 4/5: 'Monster asteroid' to fly past Earth

Washington: An intermediate-sized asteroid, categorised as “potentially hazardous”, will make a close approach to earth tomorrow (February 4), said Nasa.

The asteroid 2002 AJ129 will make a close approach to earth on February 4, 2018 at 4.30 pm EST (1.30am on February 5, Monday, in the UAE).


But there’s no reason to worry: the agency has declared it has “zero chances” of colliding with our planet in the next 100 years.

Discovered in January 2002, the asteroid 2002 AJ129 is somewhere between 0.3 miles (0.5 km) and 0.75 miles (1.2 km) across. 

The asteroid will be no closer than 10 times the distance between earth and the moon (about 2.6 million miles, or 4.2 million km).

“We have been tracking this asteroid for over 14 years and know its orbit very accurately,” said Paul Chodas, Manager of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in California. 

Meteor strikes are common, but most are small.

On January 16, a meteor flared over Michigan, exploding with enough force to register as the equivalent of a 2.0 magnitude earthquake, according to officials.

‘Zero chance’ of collision

“Our calculations indicate that asteroid 2002 AJ129 has no chance — zero — of colliding with earth on February 4 or any time over the next 100 years,” Chodas added.

The asteroid’s velocity at the time of closest approach, 76,000 mph (34 km per second), is higher than the majority of near-earth objects during an earth flyby. 
The high flyby velocity is a result of the asteroid’s orbit, which approaches very close to the Sun — 11 million miles (18 million km), the statement said. 

The asteroid 2002 AJ129 will make a close approach to earth on February 4, 2018 at 4.30 pm EST.

Common

Meteor strikes are actually common as space rocks crash into Earth all the time.

They called “meteoroids”; when meteoroids enter the Earth’s atmosphere, they’re called “meteors.” Most meteors burn up in Earth’s atmosphere before they reach the ground.

But in 2013, a meteorite fell to Earth in Russia overnight and hurting nearly 500 people.

0

Share This Post