NASA has breathed a sigh of relief as a colossal 285-foot asteroid zoomed past Earth today.
Yesterday with its DART mission, NASA successfully crashed a spacecraft into asteroid Dimorphos to try and deflect it from its course. While the asteroid collision was successful, there is no clarity as yet whether the asteroid was actually deflected. For that, the data will need to be studied over the next few weeks. Meanwhile, NASA has informed that a huge asteroid just missed the planet during today’s early hours.
NASA has revealed that a huge asteroid ranging anywhere between 128 feet and 285 feet just missed the planet during today’s early hours. Named Asteroid 2022 SP4, it is one of the largest asteroids that have passed by Earth closely this month. According to NASA, the asteroid is part of the Apollo group of asteroids. It made its close approach with Earth at a distance of 5.9 million kilometers at a staggering speed of 46800 kilometers per hour.
According to the-sky.org, the Asteroid 2022 SP4 was discovered very recently on September 18, 2022 and belongs to the main Apollo group of asteroids. Asteroid 2022 RJ2 takes 537 days to complete one orbit around the Sun.
The asteroid’s farthest point from the Sun during its orbit is 238 million kilometers, and the nearest point to the Sun is 149 million kilometers. The distance of the asteroid 2022 SP4 from Earth is currently 5.97 million kilometers, equivalent to 0.04 astronomical units. An astronomical unit (AU, or au) is basically a unit of length equal to the average, or mean, distance between Earth and the Sun, that is, 149,597,870.7 kilometers.
Did you know?
Most of the asteroids are observed with the help of the NEOWISE Project which repurposed NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) to work as a survey telescope and scan the sky for Near-Earth Objects. NASA then uses its ground-based radar to gather precise data about the asteroid’s path and its characteristics. NEOWISE has identified hundreds of others while scanning the skies at near-infrared wavelengths of light from its polar orbit around Earth till date.