Mile-Wide Asteroid to Squeak Past Earth This Weekend
Without a high-powered telescope, the asteroid won't be viewable
An enormous asteroid — so big it has its own moon — is headed towards Earth, but scientists are confident it will pass on by with plenty of room to spare.
Known as 1999 KW4 (it was discovered in 1999), the asteroid will come closest to our planet on Saturday. And by “closest,” the European Space Agency means 3,219,961 miles.
What makes this particular asteroid special is that it’s a double, or binary, “because there are two asteroids that are gravitationally bound together,” CNN reported. The bigger of the two is just under a mile in diameter and its compatriot asteroid “moon” is about a third of that.
The ESA described the asteroid as “the grey blob at the centre of this animation,” on its site and shared a tweet of its findings as well.
📸#Operations image of the week: Learning from close encounters
On Saturday, 2 gravitationally bound asteroids will make their closest Earth approach, providing useful insights for the upcoming #HeraMission to test #AsteroidDeflection
More: https://t.co/O8BfJjzMyj#GravityRules🕳️ pic.twitter.com/pmBmutOneA
— ESA Operations (@esaoperations) May 23, 2019
Dozens of telescopes from around the world will be utilized as the asteroid passes us by to gather as much information about it as possible. The rest of us, alas, will not be able to see it with just our eyes.
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