Skywatchers will have something to rejoice next week, as a gigantic asteroid will whiz by earth at a distance closer than the moon. It should be noted that this space body is twice as big as the bolide that exploded over Russia in 2013.
The space body which has been named ‘Asteroid 2019 EA2’ is approximately 128 feet wide. Interestingly, this asteroid is travelling at a very slow speed when compared to other similar space bodies. As per experts, this asteroid is travelling at a speed of five kilometres per second, and it will help astronomers to witness the close flyby with ease.
NASA revealed that Asteroid 2019 EA2 will pass earth at a safe distance of 303,733 kilometres (188,731 miles). This distance is actually about eight-tenths the distance between here and the moon.
Scientists revealed that the distance at which Asteroid 2019 EA2 passes by the earth makes this space body a ‘Near Earth Object’ (NEO). As per NASA, any space objects that have an orbital path around the sun of around 1.3 astronomical unit (AU) can be considered a near earth object. It should be noted that one astronomical unit is equal to 92.95 miles, and it is actually the distance between the earth and the moon.
Even though NASA has assured that this asteroid is not posing any threats to the earth, some people believe that it may turn out to be the replication of the 2013 Chelyabinsk incident. In 2013, an asteroid blew up above the Russian city leaving more than 1000 people injured. The explosion in Russia was so powerful as it also caused several structural damages.
A few weeks back, Dr Iain McDonald, a top scientist at Cardiff University’s school of earth and ocean sciences had predicted that earth will be hit by a doomsday asteroid one day or the other. As per McDonald, devastating asteroid collisions have happened in the past, and such cataclysmic events will happen in the future too.