Massive Asteroid 2005 YU55 Close to Earth Tuesday: Nearer Than Moon
Scientists and both professional and amateur astronomers are getting ready for a big event this coming Tuesday regarding a massive asteroid. Earth is to have a close encounter with Asteroid 2005 YU55 on Tuesday November 8 when the asteroid will pass closer to the Earth than the Moon.
The huge space rock measuring approximately 1,312 feet in diameter will pass the Earth at a distance of around 201,000 miles away at around 6:28 pm EST on Tuesday but we should stress that there is no danger to our planet. Don Yeomans, a senior research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California said that the orbit and position of the asteroid is known and added, “There is no chance that his object will collide with the Earth or Moon,” according to a Reuters report by Irene Klotz.
It will however give scientists a good opportunity to study such an object and Scott Fisher, a National Science Foundation progress director said, “It is the first time since 1976 that an object of this size has passed this closely to the Earth. It gives us a great — and rare — chance to study a near-Earth object like this.” The approach of YU55 will be visible in the northern hemisphere but will be moving too fast to be seen by the Hubble Space Telescope and will be too dim to be seen by the human eye. However it’s anticipated that thousands of astronomers will be tracking the asteroid. The optimum time for seeing the asteroid from the US East Coast will be early on Tuesday evening and Yeomans advised, “It is going to be very faint, even at its closest approach. You will need a decent-sized telescope to be able to actually see the object as it flies by.”
The path of the asteroid over the next 100 years has been tracked with computer models and in that time it will not impact the earth. It appears that the asteroid is composed of silicate rock and carbon-based materials and as it passes Earth, scientists expect to gain more information about its composition and structure. Over on Sky News we’re told that this will be the closest that an asteroid of such size has been to Earth since 1976 and it will be 2028 until an event of this kind happens again. Asteroid 2005 YU55 was discovered by Robert McMillan of the Spacewatch Project in Arizona in 2005.
We’re interested to hear your thoughts on this massive asteroid and it’s course between the Earth and the Moon next week so let us have your comments.
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