The asteroid is called 52768 (1998 OR2) and it has been on NASA’s radar since 1998. The Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico captured an image of the giant asteroid which will zoom within 6.3 million kilometres of Earth next week. According to NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, the flyby is expected to occur on Wednesday, April 29, at 5:56 a.m. ET.
The observatory has been monitoring asteroids, including this one, and tracking their future movements as well. Scientists say that if the asteroid did impact Earth, the results would be catastrophic since the asteroid is at least 500 feet in size.
Researchers in the observatory have been practicing social distancing and wearing face masks. The radar team at the observatory joked that the asteroid also resembled a face mask saying in a tweet, “This week we have been observing near-Earth asteroid 1998 OR2, which looks like it’s wearing a mask! It’s at least 1.5 km across and is passing 16 lunar distances away!”
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