A potentially dangerous and huge asteroid passed through Earth on Sunday night (21), but, almost two million away from our planet, it was observed only as a speck in the telescope’s lens. Despite the classification of NASA’s Center for the Study of Near-Earth Objects (CNEOS), it was already known that the object’s trajectory did not imply a risk of collision.
First announced by the Italian astrophysicist Gianluca Masi, creator of the Virtual Telescope Project that conducts online observations in real time, the rocky body reached its peak of approach on Sunday (21) at 11 am, Brasília time, according to the Paris Observatory. The distance was 2,016,158 km from Earth, almost five times that of the Moon.
Called 2001 FO32, the “big guy” is almost a kilometer in diameter and traveled at 124,000 km / h when it passed through Earth, according to NASA. At the time of the ticket, the “Virtual Telescope Project” channel on YouTube showed a grainy image with a small dot. “This point of light is the asteroid,” said Masi.
Learning from asteroids
Lance Brenner, a scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, acknowledged that “currently, little is known about this object, so this passage so close gives us an incredible opportunity to learn a lot.” However, the American space agency guarantees that none of the large listed asteroids has a chance of colliding with Earth in the next century.
The monitoring of these space objects has nothing to do, however, with the trajectory of falling stars, small meteorites that fall from space daily, totaling between 80 and 100 tons of material, which form a luminous line when entering the Earth’s atmosphere.
Astronomers around the world are constantly researching the trajectory of large asteroids so that there are no tragic surprises such as the so-called “Cheliabinsk meteor”, an object almost 17 meters in diameter that exploded in 2013 in Russia, releasing 30 times more energy than the Hiroshima bomb.