A ‘potentially dangerous’ asteroid nearly 2 km long will pass ‘close’ to Earth: Understand NASA’s classification | Science

A giant asteroid about 1.8 km In diameter, it will pass “relatively close” to Earth next Friday (27). But this is no cause for concern.

“There is absolutely no chance that this asteroid will collide with Earth. In fact, the flyby close to May 27 is the closest asteroid to come close to Earth in at least two centuries,” explains Paul Chodas, Director of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, Paul Chodas. (Center for Near-Earth Object Studies).

The so-called 7335 (1989 JA) poses no threat to us because, according to NASA, the body It will pass about 10 times the average distance between Earth and the Moon, at 4 million km.

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For scientists, this distance allows them to classify it as a potentially hazardous asteroid (PHA), but as astronomer Pedro Bernardinelli explains, this does not mean that it poses a threat to us even in the near future.

“The idea is not to intimidate, but to draw attention to the object for the observers,” the specialist explains.

Bernardinelli, who was one of those responsible for discovering the comet with the largest nucleus ever, told g 1 That this classification should not be construed as something worrisome because we know the orbit of 7335 well and know, in fact, that it poses no danger.

However, the researcher stresses, this naming technique is important so that astronomers can accurately understand and measure the orbit of these objects, and in this way, understand the behavior of these celestial bodies for decades.

“The definition of PHA is basically any object that passes within 0.05 astronomical units (1ua = distance between Earth and the Sun) of Earth,” explains the scientist, who also holds a Ph.D. in physics and astronomy from the University of Pennsylvania, details the scientist.

“So it’s a way of saying this is something worth measuring so you can do that kind of thing.”

The Director of the CNEOS Program at NASA acknowledges that, in fact, it may seem confusing to many people to classify this asteroid as “potentially dangerousBut it highlights one reason: “We assigned this official classification because the orbit of this asteroid approaches Earth’s orbit very soon (less than 20 times the distance of the Moon).” So this is “close” to an asteroid. ”

However, the expert explains that the two orbits do not currently intersect, but over hundreds or even thousands of years, it is “conceivable” that the orbit of this asteroid could evolve to cross the Earth’s orbit.

“Which makes it likely in the long run. But to repeat, there is no chance of impacting the Earth at least for the next century,” he adds.

According to CNEOS, this asteroid approaching on May 27 will be the largest that will pass Earth in 2022, but astronomers have been following it for more than 30 years, and they are well aware of the path of its orbit, as well as its trajectory. Several other near planet earth (NEO).

NEOs are objects with orbits that pass close to the Earth. Bernardinelli explains that they are classified as follows, in a dynamic fashion, according to the average behavior of their orbits:

  1. love: It does not cross the Earth’s orbit – it is at all times farthest from the Earth’s farthest point.
  2. Apollos: They are farther from the Sun than the Earth, but they are closer to the Sun than the farthest point in Earth’s orbit. 7335 (1989 JA) is the Apollo craft.
  3. shoot: is internal to the Earth’s orbit. That is, they do not cross it.
  4. Athens: They are kind of the opposite of Apollos, because they are closer to the Sun than the Earth, but they reach the “zone” of Earth’s orbit (the farthest point in their orbit is farther from the Sun than the closest point to Earth).

See the illustration below for a better understanding.

Types of near-Earth asteroids and comets. Photo: CNEOS/JPL/NASA

NASA studies the orbit of these objects in depth to accurately predict the estimates and probability of impact. In 2021, the agency launched the DART mission, to test human technological potential against an asteroid that might enter Earth in the future.

According to the US Space Agency, about 100 tons of “interplanetary material” fall on the Earth’s surface every day, but most of these objects are small particles of dust emitted by comets (comets are usually made of ice and dust, unlike asteroids, which are rocky).

About 7335, which is traveling at a speed of about 13,000 km / h, we will not be able to see it with the naked eye either, but a picture of the rocky object was taken by the hypothetical telescope project.

To be able to see it with the naked eye, Bernardinelli explains that a celestial body would have to be much closer (or much larger).

“[Para isso], this thing is pretty small, (not) fortunately! ‘, he says.

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