Astronomers have confirmed that a “potentially dangerous” asteroid will approach Earth as closely as possible this Friday (April 1st). However, there is no need to panic; Astronomers say the massive space rock will miss us by about 4.6 million miles (7.4 million kilometers).
The asteroid, known as 2007 FF1, is between 360 feet and 656 feet (110 and 260 meters) in diameter. SpaceReference.com, a database compiling information from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California and the International Astronomical Union. Rock 2007 FF1 is known as an Apollo-class asteroid, of which there are about 15,000, meaning that its orbit around the Sun (which lasts 684 days) intersects Earth’s orbit. The asteroid is classified as potentially dangerous due to its size and relatively close orbit Earth.
A blurry photo of the space rock hurtling our way was captured by Virtual Telescope Project on March 24, when the asteroid was about 11.6 million kilometers from Earth. This is the first evidence to confirm that the asteroid will make its Earth flyby as predicted by previous models.
The asteroid will make its closest approach to Earth at 4:35 p.m. ET, when it will be about 4.6 million miles away. For reference, the average distance between earth and the moon is around 238,855 miles (384,400 km), according to NASAmaking the asteroid about 30 times farther from Earth than the moon when it arrives.
The upcoming flyby is the closest approach to Earth that 2007 FF1 has made since its discovery in March 2007. In August 2020, the asteroid reached a minimum distance of about 10.8 million miles (17.3 million km) from Earth and was traveling at about 29,800 mph (47,950 km/h), according to SpaceReference.org. The closest approach is expected to occur on April 2, 2037, when it will reach a minimum distance of about 4.9 million miles (7.9 million km) from Earth.
Originally published on Live Science.
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