Look down! A large asteroid is heading for our planet, but the script from the film is not imminent

On Tuesday, an asteroid with a diameter of over one kilometer will pass the Earth, approaching the Earth at a distance of almost two million kilometers. Closest to Earth will be on Tuesday, January 18 at 20:51 our time.

By comparison, the Webb telescope launched by NASA into space in December will operate at a distance of one and a half million kilometers. The moon is 384,000 kilometers from Earth. So it is one of the larger and closer asteroids that has passed Earth recently.

Unfortunately, its visibility, or luminosity, will be low. Tomáš Prosecký, director of the Štěfánik Observatory on Petřín in Prague, says that he will not be observable from Prague. “The asteroid will have a light magnitude of ten, which is one degree beyond what we can observe with our telescopes,” Prosecký told the News List.

Photo: NASA Asteroid Watch/Screenshot

Asteroid Screenshot from NASA Asteroid Watch.

The Prague Observatory does not plan a special program, but it will be open during normal operation. “If someone wants to come and see, they can go between six and eight in the evening,” says Prosecký.

According to the server earthsky.com but there is a way to see it – just own a telescope with a diameter of at least 15 centimeters and be in a place with a good lighting situation. These are in the Czech Republic border areas for example in Šumava or Vysočina, it is definitely worth trying to at least go for district town boundaries.

But all this provided good weather. Provisional forecast The Czech Hydrometeorological Office says that it is partly cloudy to cloudy, so conditions are not very favorable for observing asteroids.

Estimated orbit of asteroid 7482 (1994 PC1) (purple circle), Earth’s orbit (blue circle) and the yellow Sun in the middle.

At what speed does it fly?

Asteroid 7482 (1994 PC1) was discovered in 1994 in Australia by astronomer Robert McNaught. This interplanetary object, about 2 and a half times the height of the New York Empire State Building, orbits the Sun once every 572 days. On Tuesday, it will be closest to Earth for at least the next two hundred years. It flies at a speed of almost 20 kilometers per second, ie more than 70,000 kilometers per hour.

Its more detailed description was performed by Czech astronomers from the Astronomical Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. A team of scientists led by astronomer Petr Pravec made observations in 1998, on the basis of which a detailed description of asteroid 7482 (1994 PC1) was determined.

“It’s a relatively large object that flies relatively close, but it’s not entirely exceptional. Objects of this size and so close fly around the Earth about once a year, ”says astronomer Pravec for the News List.

According to him, in the foreseeable future we can expect something much more interesting. “I won’t reveal it yet, but at the beginning of 2022 NASA discovered a body that will fly around the Earth very closely at the beginning of next year,” Petr Pravec suggested.

According to him, this asteroid is mainly interesting from an astrophysical point of view. “It is not very important for the general public because it will fly at a safe distance. But we scientists observe, for example, that its condition is critically close to the decay caused by its own rotational fission. But we also know a lot of such bodies, “says Pravec, who was interested in the asteroid.

The threat from space has recently been popularized by black comedy Look down! about the impending global catastrophe in the form of a comet heading for Earth. The film is seen as a metaphor for governments and the public’s approach to climate change – a deadly danger is raging on Earth, yet states cannot agree on a solution.

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