A massive 140-meter asteroid is heading towards Earth at a massive speed of 21276 kmph. It will come close just ahead of Christmas.
A massive 140- metre asteroid is set to come frighteningly close to Earth just ahead of Christmas. However, it may end up being a treat for stargazers as the European Space Agency (ESA) said that you can actually catch a glimpse of the humongous asteroid, which is travelling towards Earth at a fiery speed of 21276 km per hour. It is known as asteroid 2015 RN35 and was first discovered on September 9, 2015. Not just that, it has a massive size of up to 140 metres. ESA also informed that asteroid 2015 RN35 will make it closest approach towards Earth at 08:12 UTC on 15 December. It will get dangerously close to earth- just 686000 km, which is just under two lunar distances!
ESA warned that “Like many middle-sized space rocks out there, we just don’t know that much about it.” Richard Moissl, ESA Head of Planetary Defence said in a blog post that, “This middle-sized asteroid, 60-140 metre in diameter, will fly close to Earth on 15 December, becoming visible to amateur astronomers around the globe. Join the challenge to spot it with #ESAChristmasAsteroid.”
How to spot asteroid 2015 RN35?
Yes, you can spot this Christmas asteroid! However, it will be challenging while considering that it will not be as bright as a falling star. ESA informed that sky-watchers in the Southern hemisphere will get the best view during the close approach of the asteroid. However, Europe will get a chance over the following days until about 19 December. You should note that between December 15-17, asteroid 2015 RN35 will have a visual magnitude below 14 comparable to Pluto.
To have a better look, you will need Telescopes, 30 cm and larger, to be able to detect the Christmas asteroid. But will it strike the Earth?
Will asteroid 2015 RN35 strike Earth?
Chances of impact, as per the ESA, are negligible. In fact, ESA says it is zero over the next 100 years. However, even a slight deviation from its orbit can be dangerous, considering that it will come so close to the Moon and the Earth.