Three-mile asteroid is the largest Earth-buzzing object NASA's ever seen

18 Août, 2017, 21:56 | Author: Come Portier
  • Asteroid Florence

There's a petulant species of brainy monkeys that just can't seem to get along that probably deserves to be completely wiped out in a fiery collision.

At three miles wide (4.8 km), Asteroid Florence is a biggie.

"Florence is the largest asteroid to pass by our planet this close since the NASA programme to detect and track near-Earth asteroids began", Mr Chodas said. According to U.S. space agency NASA, Asteroid Florence, a large near-Earth asteroid, will pass safely by Earth on September 1, 2017, at a distance of about 4.4 million miles, (7.0 million kilometers, or about 18 Earth-Moon distances). As a comparison, the Moon is around 239,000 miles away, and Mars is 39 million miles away at its closest.

'Sooner or later we will get. a minor or major impact, ' said Rolf Densing, who heads the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, ahead of International Asteroid Day on Friday.

The asteroid, named for Florence Nightingale, was first spotted in 1981, and the flyby in September will be the closest it's come to Earth since 1890.

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"While many known asteroids have passed by closer to Earth than Florence will on September 1, all of those were estimated to be smaller", said Paul Chodas, manager of NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) at the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Maybe Apophis will have destroyed us by then. NASA scientists believe the asteroid will pass as far away as 170,000 miles based on tracking data from 2012. Scientists study these rocks to help understand the origin and composition of the Solar System.

But it's the really big ones that we need to keep a close eye on. Although I must say, I'm a big fan of surprises.

Observations will begin on 29 August and will continue to September 8.

As said by the independent space agency, asteroids passing close to Earth are a common event, and thankfully majority are usually few meters wide. "Every amateur astronomer will be able to see it".

The asteroid is expected to be visible via small telescopes across several nights ass it moves through Piscis Austrinus, Capricornus, Aquarius and Delphinus, NASA says in the release.

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