An asteroid more massive than a blue whale passed by our planet recently in what astronomers labeled a “very close encounter.”
About The Asteroid
The asteroid in the cause is known as 2020 RZ6.
It passed by Earth closer to us than the Moon’s orbit on the evening of September 17.
The asteroid is approximately 27 meters in length, and it flew by Earth at a distance of 340,000 km, about 88% the distance to the Moon.
Astronomers got a few asteroid shots as it flew by our planet at a close, yet safe distance.
Soon after the image was taken, the Virtual Telescope Project stated:
“Minutes ago, the near-Earth asteroid 2020 RZ6 had a very close, but safe, approach with our planet, reaching a minimum distance from the Earth of about 340000 km, 0.88 times the average distance of the Moon.”
“We imaged it when it was at its closest. At the imaging time, asteroid 2020 RZ6 was at about 340000 km from the Earth, exactly at the flyby distance.”
“Clouds made the observations quite difficult, but we succeeded.”
The asteroid was noticed by the ATLAS survey on September 15, 2020.
According to NASA / JPL, the asteroid was closest to our planet on September 17, 2020, at 6.23 UTC.
The asteroid passed by Earth at a speed of 8.7 kilometers per second.
It was the 62nd space object that entered the area between Earth and the Moon this year.
NASA labeled it as a NEO (Near-Earth Object), and its close flyby helps scientists study more about the history of the solar system.
NASA says that NEOs are space objects that were nudged by the gravitational pull of nearby planets into orbits that made them enter Earth’s vicinity.