Asteroid 1998 OR2 to fly by the Earth on April 29

Shane McGlaun - Apr 6, 2020, 7:00 am CDT
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Asteroid 1998 OR2 to fly by the Earth on April 29

An asteroid will pass by the Earth on April 29 that’s called 1998 OR2. The asteroid is very large, with NASA estimating that it’s between 1.1 miles and 2.5 miles wide. That certainly large enough to wreak havoc on the Earth if the asteroid was to collide with the planet. However, there is no chance of a collision with 1998 OR2.

NASA says that the asteroid will safely pass 3.9 million miles away from the Earth. NASA has been clear that there is no warning about this asteroid after some reports claimed there was a chance of impact with the Earth. NASA says that the orbit of the asteroid is understood and that it will pass Earth “harmlessly” 16 times the distance of the moon.

Currently, the asteroid is too faint to see with backyard telescopes but has been visible in larger telescopes for a while. The asteroid is streaking through space at 19,000 mph. When the asteroid draws closer to Earth, it will be visible in smaller telescopes during its close approach. 1998 OR2 is expected to reach a visual magnitude of 10 or 11.

If it does reach those visual magnitudes, it will be visible with six- or eight-inch telescopes from the ground. For those who lack a telescope large enough to see the asteroid, there will be a live webcast of its flyby from the Virtual Telescope Project. That live stream will be aired on April 28, starting at 2 PM EDT.

The Virtual Telescope Project has been watching the asteroid for about a month and has periodically released new images. The image above was released by the project. NASA does routinely classify asteroids that come within less than 4.6 million miles to Earth as “potentially hazardous.” However, the space agency says there’s nothing to worry about.


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