Asteroid as big as Empire State Building passes Earth, see pic | Trending

Asteroid as big as Empire State Building passes Earth, see pic | Trending

On February 3, NASA was able to photograph a massive asteroid as it passed Earth. At a safe distance of about 1.1 million miles (1.8 million kilometers), the asteroid named 2011 AG5 passed by Earth without harm.

According to NASA, since the asteroid was discovered in 2011, this near approach has given scientists the first chance to examine the asteroid in detail. They were able to see that it was similar in size to the Empire State Building, measuring around 1,600 feet (500 metres) long and roughly 500 feet (150 metres) wide. The Goldstone Solar System Radar antenna dish was used to measure the size of this asteroid’s unusual length.

“Of the 1,040 near-Earth objects observed by planetary radar to date, this is one of the most elongated we’ve seen,” said Lance Benner, principal scientist at JPL, who helped lead the observations to NASA.

As per NASA, the Goldstone radar observations were conducted from January 29 to February 4 and obtained the following information: The asteroid 2011 AG5 includes modest dark and lighter regions that might point to small-scale surface features a few dozen meters across. It also had a broad concavity in one of the body’s two hemispheres. The asteroid would appear as black as charcoal to the human eye.

Radar offers accurate distance readings that can be used to research asteroid’s orbital route at NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS).

Paul Chodas, the director for CNEOS at JPL said to NASA, “Interestingly, shortly after its discovery, 2011 AG5 became a poster-child asteroid when our analysis showed it had a small chance of a future impact. Continued observations of this object ruled out any chance of impact, and these new ranging measurements by the planetary radar team will further refine exactly where it will be far into the future.”

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