Watch Online As Small Asteroid Flies Closer Than The Moon Later Today

A small asteroid passing at a safe distance from Earth. Image Credit: Droneandy/Shutterstock.com

A small asteroid called 2022 GN1 will fly past Earth at a very safe distance of 127,000 kilometers (79,000 miles) – one-third of the distance between the Earth and the Moon – between April 5 and April 6. The object is a rock between 7.2 and 16 meters (24 and 52 feet) across and it was only discovered last week on April 1.

The rock is part of the Apollo family of asteroids. They are Earth-crossing objects that can come quite close to our planet. Their orbit takes them, in many cases, beyond the orbit of Mars but their perihelion (the closest point to the Sun) is closer than Earth’s own. Apollo asteroids are the largest group of near-Earth objects with 16,045 objects as of today. Of those, 1,924 are potentially hazardous.

We are in no danger from 2022 GN1 but if it were to fall to Earth at some point in the future, it might be similar to the Chelyabinsk bolide that fell in 2013, breaking windows and causing damage in the eponymous Russian city but without causing fatalities.

More observations will be necessary to understand this object and you can join in on the latest one. Astronomer Gianluca Masi and his Virtual Telescope Project will be observing the close pass of the asteroid later today, with streaming starting at 9 pm EST.

 

 

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