The object, named 1998 OR2, is approximately 1.2 miles across in size and will pass at a distance 16 times greater than that between our planet and the Moon.
This Wednesday (29), the asteroid 1998 OR2 will make its closest approach to Earth, when it will be at a distance about 16 times greater than that between our planet and the Moon. Among the scientists who are observing the object, there is a team from the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.
Astronomers are being led by researchers at the University of Central Florida in the United States. According to them, 1998 OR2 is part of a special class of asteroids called Potentially Hazardous Objects (PHO). Objects in this category are over 140 meters (459 feet) in size and are orbiting the Earth at a distance of approximately 8 million kilometers (5 million miles).
According to the researchers, 1998 OR2, in particular, is approximately 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) in diameter and rotates once every 4.1 hours. “Although this asteroid is not projected to impact Earth, it is important to understand the characteristics of these types of objects to improve impact-risk mitigation technologies,” said Anne Virkki, head of the Planetary Radar, in a statement.
Although it poses no danger to our planet now, astronomers believe that monitoring Potentially Hazardous Objects is important in determining their future trajectories. As Flaviane Venditti, a researcher at the observatory, said in a statement to the press, “in 2079, asteroid 1998 OR2 will pass Earth about 3.5 times closer than it will this year,” she said. “So it is important to know its orbit precisely.”