Asteroid 99942 Apophis: A Close Encounter with Earth
An asteroid that was previously predicted to collide with Earth has now been deemed safe, offering scientists a unique opportunity to study it. This celestial object, known as 99942 Apophis or Asteroid 2004 MN4 by NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, will make an exceptionally close approach to our planet on April 13, 2029. According to NASA, Apophis will come within a mere 38,000 kilometers of the Earth’s surface – closer than many geostationary satellites orbiting our planet.
This upcoming encounter with Apophis provides scientists with a golden chance to gather valuable data about this massive space rock. By closely observing its composition and behavior during its close flyby, researchers hope to gain insights into the nature of asteroids and potential strategies for planetary defense in case of future threats.
While Apophis is certainly noteworthy due to its proximity to Earth, there are other asteroids that pose potential dangers as well. One such asteroid is currently making headlines – Asteroid 2019 LH5.
Asteroid 2019 LH5: A Potentially Hazardous Object
NASA has recently issued an alert regarding Asteroid 2019 LH5 as it approaches Earth at an alarming speed. Traveling at nearly 77,938 kilometers per hour, this asteroid is expected to make its closest approach today, July 7th. Although it will still be approximately 5.7 million kilometers away from us at its nearest point, this distance is considered relatively close in astronomical terms.
Upon analyzing the data provided by NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, it becomes evident that while Asteroid 2019 LH5 may not be capable of wiping out life on Earth, it is still large enough to cause significant damage if it were to impact a densely populated area. With a size of approximately 880 feet across – equivalent to the dimensions of an entire stadium – this asteroid has been classified as a Potentially Hazardous Object by NASA.
It is worth noting that Asteroid 2019 LH5 has made previous close approaches to Earth. Its first recorded encounter occurred on February 3, 1916, followed by its most recent approach on February 2, 1977, when it came within a distance of 4.2 million kilometers. After today’s event, this asteroid will be expected to come close again on February 3, 2044, at a distance of approximately 4.7 million kilometers.
Asteroid 2019 LH5 belongs to the Apollo group of near-Earth asteroids. These space rocks have semi-major axes larger than Earth’s and are known for crossing our planet’s orbit. The name “Apollo” was inspired by the discovery of the colossal Apollo asteroid in the early 1930s by German astronomer Karl Reinmuth.
This close encounter with Asteroid 2019 LH5 serves as another reminder of the importance of monitoring and studying near-Earth objects. By understanding their trajectories, compositions, and potential threats they pose, scientists can work towards safeguarding our planet from future celestial hazards.
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