Asteroid Approach: A giant asteroid that will pass close to Earth

Once again, an asteroid is in the news. The new star is the 1994 PC1 asteroid (7482) 1994, which will pass close to Earth on January 18, 2022. Astronomers have been studying the asteroid for a long time. At present its orbit is not in any way threatening the earth.

The asteroid will travel as far as 1.93 million kilometers from Earth. That is, more than 5 times the distance from the Earth to the Moon. If the weather is favorable, amateur astronomers will be able to see the asteroid with a good telescope.

The name 1994PC1 indicates that we have been observing this asteroid since 1994. Observers have placed the asteroid in the Potentially Hazardous category. That is, although it is not a major threat for the time being, there is little that we can ever worry about. At 3,280 feet in diameter, the asteroid is two and a half times larger than the Empire State Building.

The asteroid was first identified by observer Robert McNaught. It was August 9, 1994, at the Slide Spring Observatory in Australia. Researchers have traced the asteroid’s trajectory to 1974 and identified the same asteroid in older images. The clear orbit of the asteroid has been identified by consolidating the available information.

If any object in the Solar System comes close to our planet at a distance of less than 1.3 times the distance between the Earth and the Sun, they are called Near Earth Objects. Objects that are more than 140 meters in size and come close to Earth’s orbit are called potentially hazardous objects. Space research agencies, including NASA, are closely monitoring such threats.

Asteroids are part of our solar system, along with the Sun, Earth, and dwarf planets, including Pluto. They are as old as the solar system. These large rocks formed when the Sun and other planets formed. Asteroids are mainly seen orbiting the Sun between Mars and Jupiter. Millions of rocks orbit the sun like this.

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