A “potentially dangerous” asteroid has passed Earth – and it’s more than two kilometers across

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Asteroid 2011 UL21 approaches Earth. It is 2.5 km in size and could be dangerous to Earth if it comes any closer.

Munich – always come back Asteroids Near-Earth – Occasionally even smaller models will hit Earth Burning can be observed. Fortunately, this is not the case with asteroid 2011 UL21, which will come close to Earth on Thursday (June 27). The asteroid is huge – its size is estimated at about 2.5 kilometers. But on approach, the distance between Earth and the asteroid is 6.6 million kilometers – 17 times the distance between Earth and the asteroid. monday.

Asteroid 2011 UL21 “Not a Threat to Earth”

“This asteroid is larger than 99 percent of all near-Earth objects and has a very inclined orbit. It’s very interesting to observe, but it poses no danger to Earth. Emphasizes Richard Moissl, ESA Head of Asteroid Protection. The large asteroid will fly past Earth on June 27 at a speed of 93,000 kilometers per hour. It reaches its closest approach at 10:14 pm (CEST). The Virtual telescope project There will be giant asteroid from 10 am Show in live stream.

Apollo-planet
Hazardous Asteroid (PHA)
17. October 2011
Catalina Sky Survey
2.3 to 2.5 kilometers

Asteroid 2011 UL21 is a “universal killer” – it won’t hit Earth

Asteroid 2011 UL21’s flyby takes place at a safe distance from Earth and would not be worth mentioning if not for its size. Estimates range from 1.7 to 3.9 kilometers, with some studies placing its diameter at 2.3 to 2.5 kilometers. What it means: 2011 UL21 is one of the largest near-Earth asteroids in recent years. Like that Virtual telescope project 2011 UL21 is one of the ten largest asteroids to fly past Earth at a distance of 7.5 million kilometers or less since 1900.

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Asteroids larger than one kilometer are called “planet killers” or “global killers” because their impact on Earth can be catastrophic. After NASAAccording to the data, an asteroid at least one kilometer in size will hit Earth about once every 500,000 years. A 10-kilometer crater is expected from a one-kilometer asteroid, global destruction — and the collapse of civilization.

Asteroid threat statistics. © NASA

“Potentially Dangerous Asteroid” Coming Near Earth

Because the asteroid is so large and coming relatively close to Earth, space agencies classify it as a “Potentially Hazardous Asteroid” (PHA). “This is a precise formal definition that refers to planets larger than about 140 meters and minor planets accessible within 7.5 million kilometers from Earth.” explained Astrophysicist Gianluca Masi is its scientific director Virtual telescope project. “Only massive asteroids that come close enough to our planet are labeled PHAs, which doesn’t mean they’ll hit Earth, but they still warrant better observation,” the astrophysicist continued.

What if a dangerous asteroid comes too close to Earth?

Researchers have been working on concepts for so-called planetary protection for years. The first practical test took place in the autumn of 2022: NASA deliberately hit the small asteroid “Demorphos” with the “DART” space probe – with a visible result: The trajectory of the asteroid changed significantly. If a dangerous asteroid is discovered, it is possible. But other comments – For example with nuclear bombs – Played by research.

Observing Asteroid 2011 UL21 through binoculars

If you have a telescope, you can try to spot an asteroid in the sky. However, you have to be patient, because before coming very close to Earth, the celestial body can only be seen from the southern hemisphere. Visible in the Northern Hemisphere sky only from the evening of June 27. According to Masi, it reaches its greatest brightness on the night of June 28-29, when it can be seen through binoculars with an aperture of 4 inches (approximately 10 cm). It will be visible through amateur binoculars throughout the first week of July. When visible, asteroid 2011 UL21 approaches Hercules in the night sky across the constellations Ophiuchus, Virgo, Libra and the Serpent.

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just before International Asteroid Day, which is announced by the UN and celebrated annually on June 30, is the second asteroid to pass Earth. At 120 to 260 meters, asteroid 2024 MK is significantly smaller than 2011 UL21. But it comes very close to Earth: the distance between Earth and the asteroid is 290,000 kilometers – more than the distance between Earth and the Moon (about 380,000 kilometers).

Shortly after its discovery, asteroid 2011 UL21 was considered extremely dangerous for Earth

Asteroid 2011 UL21’s history is interesting: When it was discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey in 2011, the asteroid had a slim one-in-a-million chance of hitting Earth in 2029. After 15 days of observing the asteroid, that probability dropped to one in 71 million. At the end of November, the asteroid was removed from the list of possible impacts because it will not hit Earth for another 100 or more years. In 2029 it will not come very close to Earth – the distance will be 240 million kilometers.

A “potentially dangerous” asteroid has passed Earth – and it’s more than two kilometers across
An asteroid approaches Earth. (Image credit) © dpa/NASA

Another asteroid will come close to Earth in 2029. “Apopis,” named after the ancient Egyptian “god of chaos.” became In April 2029 it will come closer to Earth than many other satellites. It won’t be dangerous – science sees it as an opportunity to study an asteroid up close. (tab)

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