This Wednesday (25), a space rock orbiting the Sun will pass as close as possible to our planet. It is the asteroid 130 NY1, which at 11h35 (Brasilia time), will be approximately 1.5 million kilometers from the Earth — a distance that is four times that between us and the Moon. So you can rest assured that this distance is safe enough that there is no risk of collision with the Earth.
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The asteroid in question has been classified as an “object in near-Earth orbit” (or “NEO” for its acronym), has an absolute magnitude of ,5 and its diameter is between 78 me m, dimensions that can reach those of up to three football fields. During the passage through our surroundings, the asteroid will be traveling at a speed of 9,35 km/s and it will pass at a safe distance enough. Since the asteroid will pass through here during the day, it cannot be observed; only after daylight 25 will it start to become visible during the night, so it should be observed by dedicated telescopes.
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“During this approach, the object will be a very interesting target for optical and radar, which will allow the determination of the physical properties of this NEO, as well as allow the evaluation of possible changes in its orbit”, explains Dr. Filipe Monteiro, astronomer at the National Observatory. “Since it is a potentially dangerous object, the knowledge of its physical characteristics is very important to predict its orbital evolution, and thus assess the risks of impact with the Earth in the future”, said Monteiro.
Asteroids don’t have stable orbits and can have unpredictable changes in their trajectories due to the gravitational pull of the planets and the Sun — so it’s important to track them. Thus, 2105 NY1 was considered as potentially dangerous, a classification based on parameters that calculate the chances of the asteroid making approaches that could threaten the Earth, passing up to 0, astronomical units of us and with absolute magnitude of 22. As there are several near-Earth asteroids and we don’t know them all, it’s important to discover and study the characteristics of those that have any potential to put us at risk.
This won’t be the last time the 130 NY1 will approach Earth: in 2044, it will return to a new encounter in which it will be 0,35 astronomical units from us, so this week’s approximation will be the biggest in the century. Then, a new pass will occur in 2044, the year in which the asteroid will pass our planet at 0,21 astronomical units.
Source: National Observatory
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