The largest asteroid will pass near the globe in 2021, at a distance of more than two million kilometers, without any risk of collision with the planet, but the event will allow astronomers to study this asteroid, according to Agence France-Presse.
And the asteroid, which was named “2001 FO 32” and has a diameter of less than a kilometer, will pass at a speed of 124 thousand kilometers per hour, meaning “faster than most asteroids” that pass near the Earth, according to the US Space Agency (NASA).
The rocky body is scheduled to pass near the planet on Sunday, at 16:00 GMT.
And it will be at a distance of two million 16 thousand and 158 kilometers from the Earth, which is 5 times greater than the distance between the Earth and the Moon.
“There is no risk of collision with our planet,” said “NASA”, while experts at the Paris Observatory confirmed that its path “is known and disciplined enough” to allow any danger to be excluded.
However, the rocky body is classified as “somewhat dangerous”, like all asteroids whose orbit is less than 19.5 times the distance between the Earth and the moon, and more than 140 meters in diameter.
The French Observatory said that this category “is being monitored tirelessly by astronomers around the world, to put in the smallest possible details,” noting that the first and largest asteroid, “Ceres”, was discovered in 1801.
The asteroid “FO 32” was observed for the first time in 2001, and has been under close monitoring since then. It is part of the “Apollo” family of near-Earth asteroids that orbit the sun in at least one year and can cross the Earth’s orbit.
“Currently we do not know much about this object, so its passage will give us a wonderful opportunity to learn a lot about it,” said Lance Penner, an expert at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
The Center for the Study of Near-Earth Objects of the Thrust Center stated that “it is assumed that amateur astronomers in the southern hemisphere and at low northern latitudes will be able to see the asteroid.”
Florent Delphi of the Paris Observatory said, “We will have to wait until dark and be equipped with a good telescope with a diameter of at least 20 centimeters,” explaining that “we should see a white point moving like a satellite.”
Its path is unlike that of meteors, which form a luminous line in the sky within tenths of a second.
“NASA” said that none of the large asteroids will hit Earth in the next century. But she added, “The more information we gather about these crimes, the better we can prepare to deport them in the event that one of them threatens the Earth.”