OCT 20, 2015 03:23 PM PDT

Large Asteroid to Pass Close to Earth on Halloween

NASA has announced that a huge asteroid called 2015 TB145 will fly by the planet Earth within 1.3 lunar distances on Halloween night (October 31st). This is a very close encounter between the Earth and a large asteroid, which hasn’t happened since 2006, and won’t happen again until 2027 when another asteroid dubbed 1999 AN10 arrives within 1 lunar distance to fly by.
 
A lunar distance is the amount of space between the Earth and the Moon, which NASA notes is approximately 238,900 miles. Since the asteroid will be traveling at 1.3 lunar distances away, this means it will be a little further than the distance of the Moon from the Earth.

2015 TB145 was discovered on October 10th of this year during the Pan-STARRS I survey, which aims to detect close asteroids before they pose a threat to the Earth. 
 


Although many people will be standing outside on Halloween night, trick-or-treating, or even looking up at the night skies looking for a trace of the asteroid, NASA will be taking advantage of the moment to get close looks at 2015 TB145 and study it with telescopes and imaging equipment while it’s close.
 
The asteroid, which is about half of a kilometer across, will be moving at more than 78,000 miles per hour. Just to put that speed into perspective for you, a bullet moves at about 1,700 miles per hour as it exits the gun barrel.

“The asteroid is in an extremely eccentric (~0.86) and a high inclination (~40 deg) orbit.” NASA said in a bulletin. “It has a Tisserand parameter of 2.937 hinting that it may be cometary in nature. Its absolute magnitude of 19.9 indicates that its diameter is probably within a factor of two of 320 meters. At closest approach the SNRs/run at DSS-14 are expected to be over 20000, so this should be one of the best radar targets of the year.” 

NASA does note that it’s difficult to track of the asteroid’s trajectory, but they’re certain that it will not come in contact with Earth, so we’re safe (this time). Because NASA says it’s “cometary,” speculation says it’s made up of dust, ice, and rock, rather than rock and metal like an asteroid would be.
 
Observers will be able to see the asteroid in the sky with telescopes as it approaches and leaves.

Source: NASA
 

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
JUN 27, 2018
Space & Astronomy
JUN 27, 2018
The James Webb Space Telescope Just Got Delayed... Again
Astronomers and planetary scientists are getting antsy to make use of NASA’s upcoming James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) to reveal more secrets about...
JUL 09, 2018
Space & Astronomy
JUL 09, 2018
Kepler Space Telescope Enters Low Power Mode
The fuel reserves on NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope are running dangerously low, and the space agency is now preparing to download as much of Kepler&r...
JUL 16, 2018
Space & Astronomy
JUL 16, 2018
A New Solar Sail Technology for Future Spacecraft?
As astronomers look to progress humankind’s understanding of outer space and the innumerable mysteries within, advancements in technology must follow...
AUG 01, 2018
Space & Astronomy
AUG 01, 2018
Exoplanet Habitability May Depend on the UV Light Emitted by the Host Star
Does the type of light being emitted by a host star impact the probability of life popping up on any of its orbiting exoplanets? Citing a study led by rese...
AUG 07, 2018
Space & Astronomy
AUG 07, 2018
Why Does the James Webb Space Telescope Keep Getting Delayed?
The James Webb Space Telescope is set to become NASA’s latest and greatest space-based observatory, superseding the Hubble Space Telescope as the big...
AUG 22, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
AUG 22, 2018
The Universe is Expanding, But How Fast?
Since the Big Bang, our universe has never ceased expanding. The rate of cosmic expansion, now known as the Hubble Constant, was first defined by Belgian a...
Loading Comments...