A huge asteroid will approach Earth in April, although it is considered “potentially dangerous” by astronomers,media CNET reported. The asteroid 1998 OR2 is about 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) in diameter and can be comparable in size to a mountain range in many parts of the world. Fortunately, when it approaches Earth on April 29, it will pass at a very safe distance of 4 million miles (6 million kilometers).
However, the asteroid is still considered potentially dangerous, as NASA’s Near-Earth Research Center has labeled asteroids within a range of about 4.6 million miles (7.4 million kilometers) from Earth as “potentially dangerous.” This means that we know that there are many potentially dangerous asteroids, and that at any given moment they do not actually pose a real threat to humans.
But asteroid 1998 OR2 is still expected to be the largest asteroid to fly over Earth this year. Amateur astronomers will also be able to observe the asteroid next month.
NASA scientist Eddie Irizarry wrote for EarthSky: ” (Astronomy enthusiasts) gaze at it through a telescope and it will be a slow-moving ‘star’.” Observers with at least 6 or 8-inch telescopes (numbers for the size of the main mirror) will see asteroids moving (very slowly) in front of the star. “
Irizarry offers more detailed tips for discovering this space rock. If people don’t have enough telescopes to make their discoveries, the Rome-based Virtual Telescope Project has given you live coverage starting April 28. The Virtual Telescope Project team has identified the extent of 1998 OR2 and captured images of the asteroid:
The asteroid is expected to fly again to Earth in 2079, and the space rock will fly closer (but still completely safe). In 2029, the giant asteroid Apophis (actually smaller than the 1998 OR2) will pass close by 2029, which has attracted attention. Fortunately, however, Apophis does not pose a threat to the planet.