Atlantis Online
June 12, 2021, 03:54:10 pm
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Site provides evidence for ancient comet explosion
  Home Help Arcade Gallery Links Staff List Calendar Login Register  

Large asteroid, with small moon in tow, to fly by Earth

Pages: [1]   Go Down
Author Topic: Large asteroid, with small moon in tow, to fly by Earth  (Read 218 times)
Superhero Member
Posts: 1151

« on: May 31, 2013, 05:23:05 pm »

Large asteroid, with small moon in tow, to fly by Earth
ReutersBy Irene Klotz | Reuters 1 hr 6 mins ago

By Irene Klotz

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - A large asteroid accompanied by its own small moon was approaching Earth on Friday, the latest in a string of celestial visitors drawing attention to the potential dangers of objects in space.

Asteroid 1998 QE2 - which is not named for the United Kingdom's monarch - is about 1.7 miles in diameter, about nine times as long as the Queen Elizabeth II ocean liner.

It is far bigger than the small asteroid that blasted through the skies over Chelyabinsk, Russia, on February 15, leaving more than 1,500 people injured by flying glass and debris.

That same day another asteroid, about 150 feet in diameter, passed about 17,200 miles from Earth - closer than the networks of communication satellites that ring the planet.

At its closest approach, which will occur at 4:59 p.m. EDT (2059 GMT), asteroid 1998 QE2 will be about 3.6 million miles (5.8 million km) from Earth, which is roughly 15 times farther away than Earth's moon.

"For an asteroid of this size, it's a close shave," said Paul Chodas, a scientist with NASA's Near Earth Object program office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

NASA is tracking 95 percent of the large asteroids with orbits that come relatively close to Earth. The U.S. space agency, as well as Russia, Europe and others, plans to beef up asteroid detection efforts to find smaller objects that could still do considerable damage if they hit a populated area.

Scientists used radar to get a preview of the asteroid on Wednesday and discovered it had a small moon in tow.

"It was quite a surprise," Marina Brozovic, a radar scientist with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a NASA TV interview.

After its pass around the sun, QE2 will head back toward the outer asteroid belt on an orbit that extends nearly to Jupiter.

Friday's flyby is the closest QE2 will come to Earth for at least the next 200 years, Chodas said.

Astronomers are hoping to get images and data during the flyby that will be as good as what spacecraft visiting other asteroids have returned.

(Editing by Tom Brown and Jim Loney)
Report Spam   Logged

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Pages: [1]   Go Up
Jump to:  

Powered by EzPortal
Bookmark this site! | Upgrade This Forum
SMF For Free - Create your own Forum
Powered by SMF | SMF © 2016, Simple Machines
Privacy Policy