Hyderabad: A potentially hazardous asteroid will pass very close to the Earth on April 29. According to  the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Centre for Near Earth-Object studies the flyby will occur at 3:26pm IST on Wednesday.

While NASA confirmed the asteroid will not hit the earth. According to the scientists the asteroid identified as ‘Grahik’ will not get this closest to earth in the next 59 years. The asteroid Grahik or ‘52768 (1998 OR2)’ was first discovered on 24th July 1998 by Haleakalā High Altitude Observatory, Hawaii and is categorized as near Earth object.

The asteroid though one of the closest objects it will pass by Earth approximately at a distance of 0.42 Astronomical Units which is 62,90,364 kms away from the Earth said the scientists. This distance is 16 times more than the distance between the moon and the earth.

The size of asteroid is estimated to be 1.8 km – 4.1 km and is moving at a speed of 8.7 km/sec. As per the findings of Planetary Society India, the asteroid revolves around the sun every 3.68 years. After this the scientists estimate that this asteroid will come close to earth again on 18th May 2031 at a distance of 1.9 crore kilometer. While it will be more closer in the year 2079 at a distance of 17,72,652 kms from the Earth. While the planetary society also found that the asteroid has come closer to Earth in 2009 and 1950 as well.

As the flyby is occurring during day time it will be not visible to the naked eye and can be seen with the help of astronomical telescopes. NASA scientists think that this is a good opportunity to study more about the asteroids.

Mr. Ragunanthan Kumar, director of Planetary Society India. “People have been tracking this asteroid for two decades, so they know its behavior. NASA is constantly tracking the asteroid so far it has not deflected from its route. People think that this asteroid has popped up suddenly, which is fake. Many videos were going viral on social media that the asteroid will hit the Earth, that’s why we found the origin of the asteroid to clear all the doubts.”

Aiswarya Sriram

Aiswarya Sriram is a budding multimedia journalist and is currently working for NewsMeter. A graduate from Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM) Bangalore, Aiswarya has earlier worked with The Logical Indian and has interned with Republic TV. Aiswarya, a Tamilian who was born and brought up in Mumbai, loves to do rural reporting. She has visited Byadgi Taluk of Karnataka, to write about the issues faced by chilli factory workers there, earlier in 2019. A craft enthusiast, Aiswarya also does quilling, painting and glass work. On her off-days, she loves to read crime-thrillers and watch anime. She primarily reports on civic issues, GHMC, human-interesting features, and fact-checking video stories.

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