The Lyrical Elitist

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Mountain-Sized Asteroid to Pass Close to Earth on Monday


Asteroid 2004 BL86 is believed to be nearly two-thousand feet wide, which Viral Global News reports is about the size of a mountain, is hurdling through space with a trajectory that will bring it close enough to Earth to be seen with the assistance of binoculars and telescopes.

Due to the large size of the asteroid, which scientists at NASA believe to be approximately 1,800 feet across, people who want to catch a glimpse of the space rock should be able to from their backyards with the assistance of the aforementioned telescopic equipment.

BL86 will be roughly 745,000 miles from Earth when it passes by at its closest point. Fox News points out that this is approximately three times the distance from the Earth to the Moon and while this distance might not seem all that close, experts consider it the width of a fingernail in respect to lunar distances.

The asteroid, which is estimated to be roughly six football fields in length, was first discovered in 2004 and is believed by experts at NASA to be the closest encounter we’ll have with a huge asteroid until the next one passes by the planet in 2027. The next huge asteroid to flyby within close proximity will be 1999 AN10.

Although the asteroid orbits the Sun every 1.84 years, viewing it is a once-in-a-lifetime event, as Monday marks the closest the asteroid will get to Earth until its return a couple hundred of years from now, Science Times reports.

NASA’s Near Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory located in Pasadena, California, Don Yeomans, indicated that the asteroid “poses no threat to Earth” within the foreseeable future, but it will provide researchers with what he called a “unique opportunity to observe and learn more” about the massive asteroid.

Lance Benner, a radar astronomer, was quoted by Science Times as having said that that “there are bound to be surprises” because “we know almost nothing about the asteroid.” he also indicated that “asteroids provide Earth with the building blocks of life and much of its water,” which is why he believes they will eventually “become valuable resources for mineral ores and other vital natural resources.”

Asteroids are minor planets with the larger ones having been referred to as planetoids. Terms which have historically applied to any astronomical object orbiting the Sun not showing the disc of a planet and without observation of characteristics of an active comet.

Scientists studying the asteroid, which was first discovered by Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research, intend on using microwaves to create radar-generates images of BL86 while it’s at its closest point to our planet. Until the radar data is obtained post-flyby, space enthusiasts will simply have to watch it as it passes by for a sneak preview of the information the radar-generated images will provide.

4 Vesta, an asteroid with a relatively reflective surface, is the only asteroid which is normally visible to the naked eye and it’s only visible when favorably positioned during very dark skies.



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This entry was posted on January 26, 2015 by in Asteroid, Headlines, Science and tagged , , , , .

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