Researchers working with NASA have announced that comet measuring between 600 and 1400 meters wide will pass by the Earth at a distance of 1.8 million kilometers this week. Experts working for the space agency have been tracking the trajectory of the asteroid, known as J025, for some time now and have advised that there is no danger that it will impact with the planet.
COMET ( ASTEROID) TO MAKE A VERY CLOSE ENCOUNTER WITH EARTH TODAY
“We know the time that the object is going to be closest within seconds, and the distance is known within hundreds of kilometers, ” Davide Farnocchia, a mathematician at Nasa’s NearEarth Object program told reporters. Farnocchia explained that the space agency had collected several years of data on the trajectory of the asteroid and they are familiar enough with its patterns of movement to track its future path with a significant degree of confidence. The asteroid is much larger than those who have made similar close encounters with planet Earth in recent years and is estimated to be twice as reflective as the Moon.
This means that, while the asteroid will not be visible to the naked eye, it will be able to be viewed using basic home telescope technology from Wednesday night onwards. The approach of J025 marks the closest approach of an asteroid to Earth for thirteen years. In 2004, a significantly smaller asteroid called Toutatis passed the Earth at a distance of a little under 1.6 million kilometers, approximately four times the distance of the Moon. Farnocchia explained that NASA is not particularly concerned about the close encounter that J025 will make with Earth and have moved on to studying asteroids which they believe will come much closer to the planet in the future. One of these is asteroid 1999 AN10, an 800meter space rock, which is predicted to pass within 380,000 kilometers of Earth in 2027.