AN asteroid made a “close approach” to Earth on April 1, 2022, while being watched closely by space enthusiasts.
Asteroid 2007 FF1 made a “hazardous” close encounter with our planet around 4.35pm on Friday – flying within approximately 4.6 million miles of Earth and at a speed of 29,800 mph, LiveScience reported.
Any object that comes within 4.65million miles of us is considered “potentially hazardous” by cautious space organizations.
Meanwhile, Asteroid 2013 BO76 hurtled past Earth on Thursday, March 24, at a staggering 30,000 miles per hour, according to Nasa trackers.
At up to 450 meters across, it’s roughly the same size as the Empire State Building and fortunately, the speedy object missed our planet by some distance.
It was estimated to fly by at a safe distance of around 3.1million miles, according to data on Nasa’s Near-Earth Object database.
Read our asteroid ‘close approach’ live blog for the latest news and updates…
Giant asteroids could be spotted early
Giant asteroids that could potentially endanger the Earth can be spotted thanks to a special system.
The Scout monitoring system, a small piece of technology the size of a shoebox, may be able to save the earth from catastrophic disasters.
Using new “Scout” monitoring technologies, scientists were able to spot an asteroid heading toward earth on March 11, and accurately predict its patterns.
What is the temperature of an asteroid?
According to Space.com, the average temperature of an asteroid’s surface is minus 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
How are asteroids named?
A provisional designation is given to a freshly found asteroid that consists of the year of discovery and an alphanumeric number denoting the half-month of finding and the sequence within that half-month.
Once the orbit of an asteroid has been established, it is assigned a number and, in certain cases, a name, according to Open.edu.
When a name is repeated in running text, it is typical to omit the number entirely or to drop it after the first mention.
In addition, the discoverer of the asteroid can suggest a name within the International Astronomical Union’s standards.
What is considered a ‘close approach’?
If an asteroid comes within 4.65million miles of Earth and is over a certain size, it is considered “potentially hazardous” by cautious space agencies.
The asteroid should shoot past from its safe distance at a speed of just under 19,000 miles per hour.
Asteroid longer than 4 blue whales
Asteroid 2007 FF1 was characterized as being “a minimum of four times the size of a blue whale” by the Jerusalem Post.
Valentine’s Day asteroids
April Fool’s Day wasn’t the only holiday this year when an asteroid made a “close approach” to Earth.
2022 CF3 glided past Earth in the early hours of February 14, according to Mashable.
Asteroids 2020 DF and 2022 CF1 also passed Earth around the same time.
Asteroid 2007 FF1 is one of many
According to Nasa, Asteroid 2007 FF1 traveled at roughly eight miles per second.
It was one of a dozen or so asteroids expected to make close approaches this week.
Thankfully, none of the asteroids being tracked by the space agency are thought to pose any danger to Earth.
Nasa monitors thousands of asteroids
Nasa has its eye on nearly 28,000 known near-Earth asteroids, and discoveries of new asteroids are said to go up by their thousands each year.
On that note, Nasa is hoping to launch its Near-Earth Object (NEO) Surveyor mission in 2026.
What is a meteorite?
If a meteoroid enters the Earth’s atmosphere, it begins to vaporize and becomes a meteor.
On Earth, it’ll look like a streak of light in the sky, because the rock is burning up, and it may look like a fireball or “shooting star.”
If a meteoroid doesn’t vaporize completely and survives the trip through Earth’s atmosphere, however, it can land on Earth and becomes a meteorite.
Difference between asteroids, meteors, and comets, part three
Like asteroids, a comet orbits the Sun.
However, rather than being made mostly of rock, a comet contains lots of ice and gas, which can result in amazing tails forming behind them as a result of the ice and dust vaporizing.
“They range from a few miles to tens of miles wide, but as they orbit closer to the Sun, they heat up and spew gases and dust into a glowing head that can be larger than a planet,” Nasa reported.
Difference between asteroids, meteors, and comets, continued
When two asteroids hit each other, the small chunks that break off are called meteoroids.
“Meteoroids are objects in space that range in size from dust grains to small asteroids. Think of them as ‘space rocks,’” Nasa reported.
Difference between asteroids, meteors, and comets
An asteroid is a small rocky body that orbits the Sun.
They are “rocky, airless remnants left over from the early formation of our solar system about 4.6 billion years ago,” Nasa reveals.
Most are found in the asteroid belt (between Mars and Jupiter).
But they can be found anywhere, including in a path that can impact Earth.
Asteroid mystery solved, continued
Currently, the theory is that Ryugu originated from debris left by the collision of two larger asteroids, but that doesn’t explain why the asteroid is so high in organic content, Newsweek noted.
New findings published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters suggest Ryugu is, in fact, the remains of a dead or extinguished comet.
The new theory involves the comet losing its ice content in a way that could have ended up with it having the “unique characteristics” it does.
Lead author Miura told Newsweek: “Depending on whether Ryugu was originally an asteroid or a comet, it experienced a very different environment.”
“Asteroids formed in warm regions relatively close to the sun. On the other hand, comets formed in a cooler environment away from the sun.”
“To assume off the top of one’s head that Ryugu was originally an asteroid is to overlook the possibility that Ryugu may have been in a cold environment.”
Asteroid mystery solved?
Researchers may have “solved mysteries surrounding the origins of the spinning top-shaped asteroid Ryugu,” Newsweek reported.
In fact, it may actually be the remnants of a dead comet.
Space mission Hayabusa2 returned samples and images from the space rock Asteroid 162173, also known as Ryugu, in 2020.
It is classified as a potentially hazardous asteroid by NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Objects Studies.
Data from that mission showed that the asteroid has a “spinning top shape,” and that it is “a loose pile of gravitationally bound rubble” with plentiful organic material.
What is an exoplanet?
Exoplanets are planets outside of our Solar System. Thousands have been discovered since the 1980s.
In addition to being possible locations of extraterrestrial life, they provide opportunities to better understand the evolution of the universe.
According to Nasa’s exoplanet database, of the ten exoplanets found this year, six are larger than Jupiter.
Youngest asteroids ever found in Solar System
Researchers have found a pair of asteroids orbiting the Sun that was formed under 300 years ago.
Details of the Astronomical discovery were published in a report in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
The twin asteroids – dubbed 2019 PR2 and 2019 QR6 – are the youngest found in our solar system.
“It’s very exciting to find such a young asteroid pair that was formed only about 300 years ago, which was like this morning – not even yesterday – in astronomical timescales,” astronomer Petr Fatka of the Astronomical Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences said.
Largest asteroids: Interamnia
Interamnia has a diameter of 217.5 miles and circles the sun once every 1,950 days, or 5.34 years.
Because of its distance from Earth, it is not believed feasible to investigate Interamnia.
Largest asteroids: Hygeia
With a diameter of 270 miles, Hygiea is ranked fourth-largest.
It is a large asteroid in the main belt, but due to its almost spherical form, it may soon be classified as a dwarf planet.
It will be the tiniest dwarf planet in our solar system if it achieves this status.
The asteroid was discovered in 1849 by astronomer Annibale de Gasparis.
Hygiea’s orbit does not bring it close to Earth, hence it is not considered potentially dangerous.
Largest asteroids: Pallas
Pallas was discovered in 1802 and named after the Greek goddess of wisdom.
It has a diameter of around 318 miles and accounts for about 7 percent of the asteroid belt’s total mass.
Pallas’ orbit, unlike those of other asteroids, is severely inclined at 34.8 degrees, making it difficult to analyze.
Largest asteroids: Vesta
Vesta is the second-largest asteroid in the main asteroid belt and the biggest official asteroid.
Heinrich Wilhelm Olbers discovered it in 1807.
Vesta has a diameter of 329 miles and makes up nearly 9 percent of the total mass of all asteroids.
Vesta, like Earth, is spherical and has three layers: crust, mantle, and core.
Largest asteroids: Ceres
Ceres is the biggest asteroid in the belt between Mars and Jupiter and was the first found in 1801, even thought to be a planet at the time.
In the 1850s, it was categorized as an asteroid, but in 2006, it was reclassified as a dwarf planet.
While it is no longer classified as an asteroid, it claims the top rank with a diameter of 580 miles.
Ceres is named after the Roman goddess of corn and harvests, and the term cereal comes from the same root.
Ceres took 1,682 Earth days, or 4.6 years, to complete one round around the sun.
Every nine hours, it completes one rotation around its axis.
Largest known asteroids
The largest asteroids in our solar system are chunks of space debris that have shaped the space around them.
This is a list of six of the largest known asteroids:
- Ceres (583.7 miles/ 939.4 kilometers)
- Vesta (326 miles/ 525 kilometers)
- Pallas (318 miles/ 513 kilometers)
- Hygiea (270 miles/ 444 kilometers)
- Interamnia (196.7 miles/ 306 kilometers)
- 52 Europa (188.9 miles/ 306 kilometers)
Even small asteroids can be dangerous, continued
Around 1,600 people were injured when that asteroid exploded, mostly as a result of broken glass from windows, according to NASA as cited by Newsweek.
The agency’s planetary defense officer Lindley Johnson said it was a “cosmic wake-up call.”
Even small asteroids can be dangerous
In February 2013, an asteroid that NASA previously described as “house-sized,” so relatively small next to Asteroid 2015 DR215, exploded in the skies, Newsweek noted.
It exploded over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk after it entered Earth’s atmosphere at around 40,000 miles per hour, and released a shock wave that obliterated windows over 200 square miles when it exploded.
Saving Earth from asteroids, continued
Nasa said: “DART is the first-ever mission dedicated to investigating and demonstrating one method of asteroid deflection by changing an asteroid’s motion in space through kinetic impact.”
The DART craft should hit a small asteroid called Dimorphos in September with the ultimate aim of moving it off course.