Wednesday, 23 October, 2019

Asteroid of 5 km in diameter to pass near from Earth today

Asteroid of 5 km in diameter to pass near from Earth today Asteroid of 5 km in diameter to pass near from Earth today
Sandra Phillips | 17 December, 2017, 00:21

The next pass is predicted to be in 2093 when it is expected to pass at just over 1.8 million miles (2.9 million kilometers) away.

The 3-mile wide spinning space rock is projected by NASA to make its closest approach to us on December 16, at just over some 6.4 million miles out, or about 27 times the 238,855-mile distance between the Earth and the moon. The asteroid is classified as a potentially hazardous asteroid by NASA due to how close it comes to Earth; 6.2 million miles away from Earth is actually only two million miles away from Earth's orbit.

The asteroid dubbed 3200 Phaethon is one of the orbiting bodies inside the Milky Way, and on December 16, it will whiz past the Earth, according to Newsweek. Considering that 3200 Phaethon reportedly travels at 19/km per second (that's 45,000 miles per hour) this distance is enough to have NASA designate it as a "potentially hazardous asteroid", according to NBC News.

Today's approach will be the closest it has come to Earth since 1974, with the asteroid expected to come nearest to our planet at 23:00 GMT.

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Nasa say that Phaethon will be visible through small telescopes in areas with little light pollution. However, space enthusiasts with a telescope will be able to catch it. It can also be watched on virtualtelescope.eu. Phaethon's inexperience proved to be problematic as he managed to lose control of the horses pulling the chariot and veered out, setting the Earth ablaze. The asteroid is half the size of Chicxulub, the rock that wiped out the dinosaurs. Thankfully, that's not going to happen. Its unusual orbit will see it pass closer to the sun than any other named asteroid.

In fact, 3200 Phaethon - which is responsible for the Geminid meteor shower - provides an interesting opportunity for amateur astronomers. There's a distinction. Asteroids are made up of metals and rocky material, while comets are made up of ice, dust and rocky materials, according to NASA.

To prove his divine powers, Phaethon chose to have a go, but he lost control of the chariot and ended up dragging the hot sun with him.

An asteroid-like object called 3200 Phaethon is the source of the debris that becomes the Geminid meteor shower.

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