SRINAGAR: Bushfires, a pandemic, cyclones, earthquakes: 2020 has come equipped with disaster pack. Asteroids have been flying past earth for the past few months. And now, this month, is set to see another round of these space rocks fly by close to earth.
NASA’s Near-Earth Object (CEO) browser at the Centre for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) has revealed that a group of large rocks are going to be in Earth’s close range from Saturday (June 6) onwards.
The mammoth space boulder, asteroid 163348 (2002 NN4) is the first of the large asteroids that will breach the Minimum Orbit Intersection Distance (MOID) of 0.05 AU (7.48 million kilometres). According to the NEO Close Approach data table, the asteroid 2002 NN4 will make its closest approach to Earth on June 6, at 3:20AM UTC. At its closest, the asteroid will reach a distance of 0.034 AU, or 5.09 million kilometres. The asteroid 2002 NN4 is referred to as particularly deadly, since at its broadest part, it has a diameter of 570 metres – as big as the length of almost five football pitches put together, or Dubai’s Entisar Tower, slated to be the fourth tallest building in the world. During the fly-by asteroid 2002 NN4 will be at relative velocity of 40,140 kmph.
Meanwhile, all above-mentioned figures and date looks scary, there is no reason to worry for now. The distance from which the two asteroids will pass by is close but safe. In fact, even at its closest point to Earth, it will be at a distance of over 13x the average distance between Earth and the moon.
Asteroid 2013 XA22
The other asteroid is 2013 XA22, which will breach the MOID on Monday, June 8 at 3:40PM UTC. Its approach will be significantly closer than that of the 2002 NN4, coming to 0.019 AU (2.93 million kilometres) of Earth. Asteroid 2013 XA22 is a far smaller space rock – it has peak diameter of 160 metres, and will fly by at relative velocity of 24,050 kmph
ASTEROID 2010 NY65
The asteroid 441987 (2010 NY65) has also been studied extensively due to its proximal orbit to Earth, after having been discovered a decade ago. The asteroid 2010 NY65 will cross Earth on Wednesday, June 24, at 6:44AM UTC. It will breach the MOID at 0.025 AU (3.76 million kilometres) from Earth. The 2010 NY65 asteroid falls somewhere between the 2002 NN4 and 2013 XA22 asteroids in terms of diameter, with peak size of 310 metres in its diameter. The asteroid 2010 NY65 will have the highest relative velocity of 46,400 kmph among the three large asteroids set to come the closest to Earth during June.
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.