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Asteroid the size of the Golden Gate Bridge will whiz past Earth in March – Space.com

An asteroid as huge because the Golden Gate Bridge is lengthy will hurtle previous Earth subsequent month. However though will probably be the most important and speediest asteroid to fly by our planet this 12 months, there isn’t any purpose to panic.

The area rock, formally known as 231937 (2001 FO32), is about 0.5 to 1 mile (0.eight to 1.7 kilometers) in diameter and can come inside 1.25 million miles (2 million kilometers) of Earth at 11:03 a.m. EST (1603 GMT) on March 21 — shut sufficient and enormous sufficient to be categorised as “probably hazardous,” according to a database printed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. 

An asteroid is designated as “probably hazardous” when its orbit intersects with Earth’s at a distance of not more than about 4.65 million miles (7.5 million km) and it’s greater than about 500 ft (140 meters) in diameter, according to NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS)

Associated: The 7 strangest asteroids: Weird space rocks in our solar system 

Small asteroids go between Earth and the moon a number of instances a month, and their fragments enter and break up in Earth’s environment nearly day by day, according to NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO).

Telescopes in New Mexico which might be a part of the Lincoln Close to-Earth Asteroid Analysis (LINEAR) program — an MIT Lincoln Laboratory program funded by the U.S. Air Drive and NASA — detected the asteroid on March 23, 2001, in response to EarthSky. Observatories have monitored it ever since. Scientists used these observations to calculate the asteroid’s orbit and decide how shut the area rock will come to Earth when it whizzes by at nearly 77,000 mph (124,000 km/h). 

No identified asteroid poses a big danger to Earth for the subsequent 100 years. The present largest identified risk is an asteroid known as (410777) 2009 FD, which has a 1 in 714 (lower than 0.2%) likelihood of hitting Earth in 2185, according to NASA’s PDCO

NASA is learning strategies of deflecting asteroids that do find yourself on a collision course with Earth, reminiscent of by utilizing the gravity of a flying spacecraft to slowly pull asteroids off their trajectory to a secure distance, according to NASA’s PDCO.

In case you have a telescope with an aperture of at the very least eight inches (20 centimeters), you would possibly be capable to spot the fast-moving area rock, in response to EarthSky. To catch a glimpse within the southern U.S., level your telescope south-southeast between the constellations of Sagittarius and Corona Australis at 4:45 a.m. EST on March 20.

Initially printed on Dwell Science.

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