An asteroid more than a kilometer in diameter will pass close to Earth this Tuesday (18). As released by Italy’s Virtual Telescope Project, the celestial body is classified as “potentially dangerous”, but the passage will pose no risk to the planet.
The project detailed that the asteroid – named 7482 (1994 PC1) – has an estimated diameter of between 750 meters to 1350 meters and will pass within about 2 million kilometers of Earth. Due to its size, the celestial body will be visible by smaller telescopes, especially in the Southern Hemisphere, including Espírito Santo.
2 million kilometers
This is the distance that asteroid 7482 will pass from Earth
According to Marcelo de Cicco, an astronomer at the National Institute of Metrology, Quality and Technology (Inmetro), the asteroid is 2.5 times the size of the Empire State Building, a 102-story skyscraper in the heart of New York. He stressed, however, that there is no risk of an impact with Earth in the coming years and that it is an asteroid that is already well known and studied.
“It is considered a “Near Earth Object” or NEO asteroid, and is considered an asteroid with possible impact risk. It is part of the Apollo family group, which are objects that have orbit a little bit higher and sometimes they can cross the Earth’s orbit. But it’s almost zero risk, there’s no chance of this asteroid impacting Earth for the next hundreds or thousands of years. It was discovered in 1994, so it’s an object known, studied”, he said.
The astronomer pointed out that the distance it will pass from Earth is approximately five times that of the planet to the Moon, which is considered close for astronomy. This will allow observation of the celestial body through amateur telescopes.
“This is the closest distance to Earth for the next 200 years. Due to its proximity, in astronomical terms, it is the easiest object to observe with amateur telescopes”, added Marcelo de Cicco.
As always, it all depends on the weather conditions. If the sky is clear, it makes it easier. But you will only be able to observe the asteroid if you have a small telescope. It will appear in the constellation Pisces, close to Uranus and the Northern Torcular double star.
The best time to observe it is from 8:30 pm on Tuesday (18), when the sky will be dark and Uranus will be 40° above the horizon. During the night, the planet and stars on that side of the sky will descend until they disappear into the horizon. The same goes for the asteroid.
It can be quite difficult to detect the object, but when it passes close to background stars, it will be possible to observe the movement in relation to them. The moon’s glow can be a bit of a nuisance, but it will be a good distance away from the target.
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