A big asteroid, very dark, will pass the Earth on Saturday in Jupiter’s direction

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An asteroid classified by NASA as “potentially hasardous” will pass the Earth from a distance nine times that of between Earth and the Moon on August 21 cruising at a speed of 94,208 kilometers per hour. The asteroid will approach our planet at 11:10 am ET (8:40 pm IST and 3:10 pm GMT). It’s approximately 4,500 feet in diameter. is larger than 99 percent of all known Near-Earth objects. The asteroid was first spotted by the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) facility located at Haleakala Observatory, in January 2016. Astronomers will be able to watch it in its orbit using telescopes. They noticed that the asteroid is very dark (not very reflective).

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NASA has predicted its orbital track and expects no harm to the planet this time but will next come close to Earth in 2063. The asteroid orbits around the Sun every 5.9 years. Professional astronomers will study this object using the Goldstone Observatory in California together with observatories in Spain, , Italy, and Russia. Telescopes of 20 centimeters (8 inches) or larger should be able to spot it. It will appear in the constellation of Lepus, near the Mu Leporis star. As it travels towards Earth’s orbit it shoots off in Jupiter’s direction. NASA is currently tracking over 26,000 near-Earth asteroids.