An enormous asteroid probably measuring greater than double the scale of the Statue of Liberty is ready to sail previous Earth on Christmas Day.
During its shut strategy, the area rock—dubbed 501647 (2014 SD224)—will come inside 0.02019 astronomical items, or almost 1.9 million miles, of our planet at 8:20 p.m. UTC (3:20 p.m. ET) on December 25, information from NASA’s Center for Near Earth Studies (CNEOS) exhibits.
According to CNEOS, the asteroid is estimated to measure wherever between 302 ft and 689 ft in diameter.
At the decrease finish of this vary, the area rock can be virtually precisely the identical peak because the Statue of Liberty. But on the higher finish, it could be greater than double the scale of the well-known monument in New York City.
While an in depth strategy of 1.9 million miles sounds very distant, it’s really comparatively close to in astronomical phrases. In truth, 1.9 million miles is slightly below eight instances the common distance between the Earth and the moon.
As 2014 SD224 flies previous our planet, it is going to be travelling at a velocity of greater than 22,000 miles per hour—which is roughly thirty instances the velocity of sound.
The area rock is one in all many so-called near-Earth objects (NEOs) that orbit the solar within the neighborhood of our planet.
Technically, the time period NEO refers to any asteroid or comet which have orbits with the potential to come back inside 121 million miles of the solar, or 30 million miles of the Earth’s personal orbital path.
So far, researchers have noticed round 25,000 NEOs—the overwhelming majority of that are asteroids. Scientists suppose many of the of the most important NEOs have been found, though there are more likely to be many extra smaller ones which might be nonetheless undetected.
“By continually searching for asteroids, we expect to eventually find the majority of the hundred-meter-scale asteroids over time, as each happens to pass by our planet many years or decades before a possible potential impact,” CNEOS director Paul Chodas beforehand advised Newsweek.
“We have already inventoried over 95 percent of the really large asteroids (1 kilometer or 0.62 miles in size and larger) and we know that none of them has any chance of impacting over the next century.”
NEOs which might be thought to measure greater than 460 ft in diameter and are in orbits that might probably cross the Earth’s personal path inside centuries or millennia—like 2014 SD224—are categorized as “potentially hazardous.”
2014 SD224 will fly previous Earth just some days after the winter solstice on December, which marked the shortest day of the yr within the Northern Hemisphere.
The astronomical occasion was notable this yr as a result of it coincided with a “great conjunction” of Jupiter and Saturn throughout which the 2 planets appeared nearer within the sky than they’ve executed for round 400 years.