Newly Discovered Giant ‘Halloween Asteroid’ to Fly Very Close to Earth
By Glynn Cosker
Managing Editor, In Homeland Security
When it comes to giant asteroids, they’re best talked about when they are floating out in space. However, this Halloween, one the size of the Empire State Building will fly alarmingly close to Earth; in fact, it’s the closest fly-by of a near-Earth object that large since 2006 according to NASA.
The scariest part of this trick-or-treating development is that NASA discovered this asteroid (capable of wiping out sections of the United States) only recently – on Oct. 10.
The giant rock was detected by the Pan-STARRS I survey in Hawaii, which uses numerous worldwide astronomical telescopes and cameras to spot potentially life-threatening objects out in space.
Don’t panic though; NASA has already stated that this big brute, dubbed 2015 TB145, will pass on by at 1.27 lunar distances (approximately 297,000 miles out). Still, that’s pretty close for an asteroid traveling at a high velocity of 78,330 mph.
“The asteroid is on an extremely eccentric and a high inclination orbit,” stated a NASA representative.
The giant asteroid will be visible with the aid of a telescope in the Northern Hemisphere. An object as large as 2015 TB145 won’t come as close to our planet until August 2027 – when “1999 AN10” will approach us within 1.0 lunar distances.
The asteroid’s closest approach to Earth will come around 11:14 a.m. EST on Oct. 31 but people can still spot it late in the day on Oct. 30 and just before sunrise on Halloween Day. According to astronomers, one of the best spots to see the massive asteroid will be just in front of the easily recognizable Orion constellation.
Ultimately, everyone can sleep tight on All Hallows’ Eve – NASA utilizes an extremely accurate and automated collision monitoring system named Sentry to continually check any objects capable of causing damage to Earth. So far, they’ve found no threats coming our way for the next 100 years.
You can get involved in the search for giant asteroids that might threaten life as we know it by downloading NASA’s free app, called Asteroid Data Hunter.
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