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Asteroid to zoom past Earth Friday, but no collision risk: Museum

01/30/2024 05:12 PM
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Graphic: Taipei Astronomical Museum
Graphic: Taipei Astronomical Museum

Taipei, Jan. 30 (CNA) A potentially hazardous asteroid (PHA) nearly the size of Taipei 101 will zoom past Earth on Friday, but there is no collision risk, according to the Taipei Astronomical Museum on Monday.

The asteroid, known as 2008 OS7, will make its closest approach to Earth at 10:40 p.m. Friday Taiwan time, passing at a distance of 0.019 astronomical units, or about 2.85 million kilometers, at a speed of 18.2 kilometers per second, the Taipei museum said in a news release.

Astronomers estimate the diameter of 2008 OS7 to be about 210 to 480 meters, making it nearly the height of the Taipei 101 skyscraper, it said, while assuring the public the asteroid will not enter Earth's atmosphere.

Based on information provided by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the museum said five asteroids will come close to Earth in the coming days, with one of them being 2008 OS7, which has been classified as a PHA because it has a diameter of more than 150 m.

Graphic: Taipei Astronomical Museum
Graphic: Taipei Astronomical Museum

There are millions of asteroids in the solar system, of which 2,349 have been classified as PHAs. The largest of the PHAs, it said, is the 1999 JM8, which has an estimated diameter of 7 km.

The next significant approach to Earth by a PHA will be the 99942 Apophis on April 14, 2029, the museum said.

With an estimated diameter of 370 m, it will pass by Earth at an ultra-close distance of less than 40,000 km, it added, noting however that scientists have temporarily ruled out the possibility of an impact.

(By Chen Yu-ting and Ko Lin)


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