Asteroid Will Pass “Close” to Earth
The asteroid poses no threat to us. It will pass by at roughly 4 million miles away. But you can see from this illustration that in terms of the solar system, that’s pretty “close.”
Earthsky.org has got you covered.
“Have you heard the buzz about a big – very big – asteroid that’ll pass relatively close to Earth later this month? Asteroid (52768) 1998 OR2 will pass at a safe distance, at some 4 million miles (6 million km), or about 16 times the Earth-moon distance. It’s big – the biggest asteroid due to fly by Earth this year – and will come closest to Earth on April 29, 2020. Astronomers at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico have been studying the asteroid since April 8, as it’s traveled through space at 19,461 miles per hour (31,320 km/h). The high-resolution radar image above – from Arecibo – is one of the first glimpses of this large asteroid.
Images like these should provide scientists a better estimate of the space rock’s size and shape.
Closest approach will be April 29 around 5:56 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (09:56 UTC; translate UTC to your time). Professional observatories have been pointing their telescopes at the huge space rock already. Amateur astronomers with smaller telescopes will also have an opportunity to see it as a slow-moving “star.” If that’s you, we give charts and tips for observers at the bottom of this post that should help.
No access to a telescope? No problem. The Virtual Telescope Project in Rome will host a free, online public viewing of the asteroid on April 28, 2020.”