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Hazardous Asteroid bigger than a football pitch set to come 'near Earth' TOMORROW


Astronomers are gearing up for a flyby of a huge asteroid which has been designated 2020 RO. The space rock is a true colossus, measuring between 59 and a staggering 130 meters. At the upper scale, the asteroid would be bigger than a standard Premier League football pitch, which has an average length of 110 meters.

 

The asteroid will zoom by our planet on September 25, but it poses no threat to Earth.

 

This is because 2020 RO will pass at a distance of 5,880,049 kilometers - more than 15 times the distance between Earth and the Moon.

 

While that may seem like a sizeable distance, in astronomical terms it is nothing.

 

In fact, light - the fastest thing in the Universe - could travel that in just 19 seconds.

 

The asteroid will make its closest approach to Earth at 5.10am BST.

 


According to observations from NASA, the space rock is travelling at a staggering 11.84 kilometers per second, or more than 26,000 kilometers per hour.

 

Despite its distance, the asteroid has been designated a near Earth object (NEO).

 

NEOs are asteroids which come into Earth's galactic neck of the woods after being diverted from its path by one of the solar system's other planets.

 

NASA explained on its website: "NEOs are 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.

 

"Composed mostly of water ice with embedded dust particles, comets originally formed in the cold outer planetary system while most of the rocky asteroids formed in the warmer inner solar system between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

"The scientific interest in comets and asteroids is due largely to their status as the relatively unchanged remnant debris from the solar system formation process some 4.6 billion years ago.

"The giant outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune) formed from an agglomeration of billions of comets and the left over bits and pieces from this formation process are the comets we see today.

 

"Likewise, today’s asteroids are the bits and pieces left over from the initial agglomeration of the inner planets that include Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars.

"As the primitive, leftover building blocks of the solar system formation process, comets and asteroids offer clues to the chemical mixture from which the planets formed some 4.6 billion years ago.

"If we wish to know the composition of the primordial mixture from which the planets formed, then we must determine the chemical constituents of the leftover debris from this formation process - the comets and asteroids."

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