Finally! The day is here when the jumbo asteroid will flyby Earth on March 21, Sunday. This year, the asteroid will zip past the planet from quite close, giving astronomers a chance to catch a glimpse of the rock. As per astronomical terms, it will mark a close encounter with ‘2001 FO32’ (name of the asteroid).
According to NASA, the rock, which is 900 meters in diameters, pose no threat to the Earth. The rock will not collide with the planet ‘now or for centuries to come.’ The nearest the rock will get is 1.23 million kilometres, which is almost five times the distance between Moon and Earth.
The rock which was discovered 20 years ago, will pass by the Earth at about 124,000 kilometres per hour, which is faster than the speed at which most asteroids pass by Earth.
Director of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, Paul Chodas was quoted saying, "We know the orbital path of 2001 FO32 around the Sun very accurately."
"When sunlight hits an asteroid’s surface, minerals in the rock absorb some wavelengths while reflecting others," said NASA. The space agency company further added, "By studying the spectrum of light reflecting off the surface, astronomers can measure the chemical ‘finger-prints’ of the minerals on the surface of the asteroid."
The jumbo asteroid is expected to pass by Earth at around 9 pm IST on March 21, Sunday.
Report by Chetali S M
Reported on – 21/03/2021