In spooky space news, a massive asteroid discovered by scientists just 10 days ago, is set to pass Earth this Halloween. Asteroid 2015 TB145 was first spotted by the Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System 1 (Pan-STARRS-1) in Hawaii on Oct.10.
TB145’s size has been likened to that of a skyscraper, about 1,542 feet in diameter, while a report released by NASA states that the asteroid itself is “the closest approach by a known object this large until 1999 AN10 approaches within 1 lunar distance in August 2027.”
Jeepers! The average distance between Earth and the moon, aka the “lunar distance,” is approximately 230,000 miles. TB145 will, however, safely pass us by at a distance of 310,000 miles, while travelling at a speed of 78,000 mph.
Since the Earth is at no risk of being hit by Asteroid 2015 TB145, astronomers are looking forward to studying the physical properties of the surprise flyby, with the recently released NASA report enthusiastically describing the event as “a truly outstanding scientific opportunity.” Amateur astronomers who wish to see the asteroid in action are encouraged to do so by using telescopes of 8-inch diameter and larger on the night of October 30, and before dawn on Oct. 31.
With celebrations and relieved cursing aside, astronomers late discovery of the flyby (a close three weeks before its debut) highlights the great risks that asteroids can pose. Hence, NASA’s Near-Earth Object Observations Program works in collaboration astronomers and scientists around the world to look for and track asteroids that have the potential to harm our planet. NASA’s most ambitious goal in this regard is to capture and redirect an asteroid, in order to place it in a more stable lunar orbit.
Asteroid 2015 TB145 proceeds the Internet’s rumors of a catastrophic impact by an asteroid that was to have occurred between Sep. 15 and Sep. 28 of this year. Obviously, we are all still here.
So, readers if you’re still looking to find the perfect costume this Halloween, why not just go as a gigantic hunk of rock hurtling through space? It’s sure to be a “hit” among party party guests…