Asteroid (52768) 1998 OR2 will pass within roughly 4 million miles of Earth on April 29, 2020. The asteroid is traveling at a cool 19,461 miles per hour, and will be the largest to come so close to our planet this year.
Thankfully, there’s no chance of an impact whatsoever. (Though I imagine a scorching hot asteroid impact would be one way to wipe out the ongoing global…nevermind).
Originally discovered on July 24, 1998, OR2 is about 2-4 kilometers (1.25-2.5 miles) in diameter and has an eccentric orbit around the Sun that occasionally causes it to cross Earth’s orbital path.
While it’s unlikely to ever impact Earth, in a statement published August 5, 1998, NASA said the asteroid is still worth keeping an eye on:
“The newly discovered asteroids 1998 OH and 1998 OR2 are both large enough to cause global effects if one impacted Earth, and both are classified as ‘potentially hazardous objects’ because they pass periodically near Earth’s orbit (like at least 125 other objects discovered so far). Both asteroids are 1 to 3 kilometers (about 1 mile) in diameter.”
The Virtual Telescope Project, based in Rome, Italy, shared an image of OR2 taken March 6, 2020. They’re also planning a live feed of the asteroid as it passes by next month.
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