Airplane-sized Asteroid To Zoom Past Earth At 66,000 Kmph, NASA Issues Alert

Airplane-sized Asteroid To Zoom Past Earth At 66,000 Kmph, NASA Issues Alert
Airplane-sized Asteroid To Zoom Past Earth At 66,000 Kmph, NASA Issues Alert

Updated May 1, 2024, 18:21 IST

NASA tracks asteroid 2024 HK2’s journey as it zooms past Earth at 66.011 km/h. Here’s everything you need to know about today’s asteroid.

Asteroid 2024 HK2 will zoom past Earth today at 66,011 kilometers per hour. (Representative Image)

Astronomers have their eyes on the skies as a new asteroid, named 2024 HK2, is making its way through our solar system. While it might sound alarming, there’s no need to panic just yet. Here’s what you need to know about this celestial visitor. Asteroid 2024 HK2 measures about 86 feet wide, which is relatively small compared to yesterday’s massive 1029-foot asteroid 2022 TN1. However, what’s more important to note is its speed. This asteroid is zooming through space at an astonishing 66,011 kilometers per hour!

Now, the big question: how close will it get to us? Well, the good news is that it won’t be swinging by too close. Its closest approach to Earth will be about 2.9 million kilometers away. To put that into perspective, that’s more than seven times the distance between Earth and the Moon. So, while it’s a near-Earth object, it won’t be anywhere near our planet in cosmic terms.

But why are we even talking about this asteroid? Isn’t space full of rocks? Yes, it is, but not all of them are a cause for concern. Most asteroids orbit far away from Earth and pose no threat to us. However, a small fraction of them, called potentially hazardous asteroids, require closer attention. These are the ones that are larger than about 460 feet (140 meters) and come within about 4.6 million miles (7.5 million kilometers) of Earth’s orbit around the Sun.

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To keep an eye on these potentially hazardous asteroids, organizations like the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) continuously monitor them. They gather data from observatories all over the world, including contributions from amateur astronomers. Large NASA-funded observatories, like Pan-STARRS and the Catalina Sky Survey, play a crucial role in tracking these space rocks. Additionally, NASA’s NEOWISE mission and future projects like NEO Surveyor help expand our understanding of these objects.

So, asteroid 2024 HK2 might sound like just another day in the cosmos. As it passes by at a safe distance, astronomers will continue to study it, adding to our knowledge of the wonders that fill our universe.

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