Largest Asteroid Of The Year To Buzz By Earth This Weekend
An asteroid being tracked by NASA will make it's closest pass by Earth this weekend.
Asteroid 2001 FO32 will skip by earth at about 77,000 MPH, Sunday. The space rock was discovered 20 years ago, and has been tracked by NASA's Center for Near Earth Object Studies ever since. The near-Earth asteroid will make its closest approach at a distance of about 1.25 million miles, or 5 1/4 times the distance from Earth to the Moon. There is no threat of a collision with our planet now, or for centuries to come.
In astronomical terms, 1.25 million miles is a close call. Hence why scientists have been keeping a close eye on the estimated 1,300 to 2,230 feet-wide asteroid. The fly-by on Sunday favors the southern hemisphere for the best viewing. Even if we could see the rock skip by up here in the north, a moderately sized telescope with an aperture of at least 8 inches would be needed to see 2001 FO32.
Over 95% of near-Earth asteroids the size of 2001 FO32, or larger, have been discovered, tracked, and cataloged. None of the large asteroids in the database has any chance of impacting Earth over the next century.
Earlier this month, a spacey sight was spotted in the skies over New England. Over 200 sightings of a large fireball around 5:38 p.m. were reported to the American Meteor Society, March 7. Sightings stretched from Maine, parts of Canada, south the New York. According to NASA Meteor Watch: "Analysis of their reports shows that the meteor occurred over northern Vermont, first appearing at a height of 52 miles (84 kilometers) above Mount Mansfield State Forest."