Asteroid 2023 AH, which measures just 20-foot in size, is a potential threat to Earth, says NASA. Know why.
NASA has detected a small yet potentially hazardous asteroid on January 11, 2023, which has been dubbed Asteroid 2023 AH and it is all set to make a very close approach towards Earth today. As per NASA’s asteroid data tracker, Asteroid 2023 AH measures around 20-foot in diameter, and will fly past the Earth today January 15 at 15:05. This near-Earth asteroid belongs to the Apollo group and makes one orbit around the Sun in 528 days.
NASA’s CNEOS detected that the asteroid is making its journey at a fiery speed of 17221 km per hour. “At this time, the asteroid moves away from the Sun at a maximum distance of 23million kilometers and approaches it at a minimum distance of 144 million kilometers,” the-sky.org mentioned. However, the most worrying part is that this small asteroid will make an uncomfortably close approach towards the Earth at a distance of just 440000 miles. While the average distance between Earth and the moon is 239,000 miles or 385,000 kilometers.
Why this 20-foot asteroid is a potential threat to Earth
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Center for NEO Studies maintains an impact risk assessment list of all the near-Earth objects that will make relatively close approaches to Earth. NASA’s JPL has given the tag of potentially hazardous objects to all the space rocks that approach within 4.6 million miles of Earth and have a size larger than about 150 meters. The close distance towards the Earth is what makes this 20-foot asteroid a potential threat to Earth. A small deviation from its orbit can lead to a catastrophic consequences on Earth.
NASA-supported ground-based telescopes such as Pans-STARRS1 in Maui, Hawaii, the Catalina Sky Survey near Tucson, Arizona, and a space-based telescope called NEOWISE, astronomers can keep a close watch on these near-Earth objects. Moreover, NASA also has an impact monitoring system in place which uses an algorithm called Sentry-II to calculate the impact risk of these asteroids.