Largest Asteroid Of 2021 Passes Earth on Sunday
Asteroid 2001 FO32 is estimated to be as big as the length of 7.5 football fields in diameter and it will be sweeping past Earth at such a fast pace that, when it’s closest, observers using telescopes might be able to detect its motion in real time.
The asteroid will pass within about 5x the distance between Earth and the Moon on Sunday, March 21, 2021.
Although there’s no risk of impact, the space rock is of interest also because it’s one of the fastest known to fly by Earth. It’s traveling at about 76,980 miles per hour --- that’s 21 miles per second --- relative to Earth. (Earth travels around the sun at about 18 miles per second)
It will be too faint to see with the naked eye, but it will be visible to observers using at least an 8” diameter telescope.
After it passes by Earth in March, 2021, the next encounter of this asteroid with our planet occurs in 2052. But on Sunday it will be its closest to Earth for the next 200 years.
It will sweep past Earth at such a fast pace that, when it’s closest, observers using telescopes might be able to detect its motion – its drift in front of the stars – in real time.
Asteroid 2001 FO32 was discovered in 2001 and It orbits around the sun every 810 days.
Sciencealert.com says that more than 95% of near-Earth asteroids the size of 2001 FO32 or larger have been cataloged and none of them has any chance of impacting our planet over the next century.
The largest known asteroid is 1 Ceres. This beast has a diameter of over 600 miles. It has about 25% of the mass of all the asteroids combined. It's the 25th largest body in the solar system.
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