NEW DELHI: US space agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is closely tracking a few asteroids, among many others on its ‘Asteroid Watch’, that are expected to fly by Earth on June 4, June 5 and June 6.
Collectively, this is going to be a rare celestial spectacle for all the avid space enthusiasts and sky-gazers, who will now be training their telescopes to witness the ‘fly-past’ of these ‘space rocks’ over the next two days.
On June 4, an asteroid named ‘2020 KN5’ which is said to have an estimated diameter between 24 metres and 54 metres is expected to fly closely past Earth. According to space scientists, the closest approach of this object would be around 61.0 lakh km from our planet.
On Friday, June 5, object ‘2020 KA6’ will be flying by Earth at a distance of 44.7 lakh km from the planet of humans. This asteroid is believed to be of 12-18 metres in diameter. On June 6, Saturday, the largest of the three asteroids named ‘163348 (2002 NN4)’, whose size is estimated to be between 250 metres and 570 metres in diameter, will fly past Earth. It will be hurtling past Earth at the closest distance of 50.9 lakh km from earth.
Even though 2002 NN4’s fly-past is a bit far away from Earth, NASA considers the space rock to be a ‘Near-Earth Object. In fact, the US space agency considers any asteroid as an NEO if it approaches Earth within 1.3 astronomical units. According to a Zee News report, a NEO is a term used by NASA to describe comets and asteroids that have been nudged by the gravitational attraction of nearby planets into orbits that allow them to enter the Earth’s neighbourhood.
NASA’s Asteroid Watch Widget tracks asteroids and comets that will make relatively close approaches to Earch. The widget displays the date of closest approach, approximate object diameter, relative size and distance from Earth for each encounter.