NASA ALERT! 368-foot Giant Asteroid Racing Towards Earth

NASA ALERT! 368-foot Giant Asteroid Racing Towards Earth
NASA ALERT! 368-foot Giant Asteroid Racing Towards Earth

Updated May 12, 2024, 16:17 IST

NASA alerts about asteroid 2015 KJ19, a 368-foot space rock speeding towards Earth. Here’s everything you need to know about this massive visitor.

NASA issues alert about a massive 368-foot asteroid.

NASA has just issued a red alert regarding a sizable asteroid hurtling through space towards Earth. Dubbed “2015 KJ19,” this space rock measures a whopping 368 feet (112 meters) in size, making it a significant object to keep an eye on. What’s even more mind-boggling is the speed at which this cosmic traveler is zipping through the cosmos. Speeding at a staggering 83,175 kilometers per hour, it’s moving faster than most of us can comprehend.

Scheduled to make its closest approach on May 14, 2024, at 02:43 UTC (that’s 08:13 AM IST for those in India), this asteroid will pass within a relatively close distance of approximately 6 million kilometers from our planet. While that may seem like a vast distance in human terms, in the grand scale of space, it’s a hair’s breadth.

A Colossal Visitor from the Apollo Group

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2015 KJ19 belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids, notorious for their orbits that occasionally intersect Earth’s path. This behemoth is estimated to be 368 feet (112 meters) in diameter, roughly the size of a building. While not quite a planet-killer, it’s undoubtedly a substantial space rock with the potential to capture the imaginations of skywatchers.

Despite its impressive speed, there’s no need to lose sleep over 2015 KJ19. The good news is that this asteroid will maintain a safe distance of 6 million kilometers (3.7 million miles) from Earth during its close encounter. To put that in perspective, that’s 15 times the distance between Earth and the Moon! NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) is tasked with meticulously tracking asteroids and comets to assess any potential impact threats. Fortunately, 2015 KJ19 falls well outside the designated “potentially hazardous” zone. This zone encompasses objects exceeding 460 feet (140 meters) in size that venture within 4.6 million miles (7.5 million kilometers) of Earth’s orbit.

How NASA Tracks Near-Earth Objects

CNEOS fulfills its critical mission by relying on a global network of observatories, including invaluable contributions from dedicated amateur astronomers. This collaborative effort plays a vital role in precisely determining the orbital paths of near-Earth objects. Additionally, powerful NASA-funded observatories like Pan-STARRS and NEOWISE stand at the forefront of tracking these celestial bodies, ensuring we have a comprehensive understanding of their movements.

While the faintness of the asteroid might make it invisible to the naked eye, astronomy enthusiasts with telescopes might have a chance to catch a glimpse of 2015 KJ19 during its close approach.

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