NASA has warned that a plane-sized asteroid is hurtling toward Earth today! How dangerous is it?
NASA has deployed its latest and most complicated technological means to closely monitor the dangerous asteroids coming to Earth. NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office is responsible for monitoring the skies and keeping an eye on several Near-Earth Objects (NEOs). If a celestial body is at risk of being struck by Earth, it raises a red flag and issues a warning. NASA has highlighted an asteroid named Asteroid 2022 SC9 in red, which is expected to fly past Earth at a very close distance. Although the asteroid is not headed for a collision with Earth, it was still classified as a potentially dangerous object due to the proximity with which it will pass Earth. It could collide with Earth if it strays from its path due to interaction with Earth’s gravitational field or some other external force.
Asteroids closer than 5 million miles from Earth’s orbit are classified as potentially dangerous asteroids, according to NASA.
Asteroid 2022 SC9 hits Earth today October 3rd
NASA has warned that asteroid 2022 SC9 is headed for Earth at a dizzying speed of 54972 kilometers per hour. It will make its closest approach to the planet today, at a distance of 5 million kilometers. According to NASA, Asteroid 2022 SC9 is nearly the size of a commercial airplane with a beam of nearly 140 feet.
According to the-sky.org, asteroid 2022 SC9 belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids, a group of near-terrestrial asteroids named after the giant Apollo 1862 asteroid discovered by German astronomer Karl Reinmuth in the 1930s. Asteroid 2022 SC9 orbits the sun in about 466 days. During this journey, the farthest point from the sun is 264 million kilometers and the nearest point is 88 million kilometers.
After today’s flight, asteroid 2022 SC9’s next close approach to Earth will take place on October 6, 2082, at a distance of about 11.28 million kilometers.
How is an asteroid’s orbit calculated?
An asteroid’s orbit is calculated by finding the elliptical path around the sun that best fits the available observations of the object using various space and ground telescopes such as NASA’s NEOWISE telescope and the brand-new Sentry II algorithm. That is, the calculated path of the object around the sun is adjusted until the predictions of where the asteroid should have appeared in the sky at different observed times, match the positions where the object was actually observed at that same time.