Asteroid 1998 OR2 makes a close pass of Earth

Asteroid 1998 OR2 path animated. Credit: NASA JPL>

It was close, ok not like in the movie armageddon, but Asteroid 1998 OR2 came within several million kilometres of Earth and NASA says there’s “no possibility of impact for at least the next 200 years.”

The close pass came early this morning at 5:55 a.m. EST. Below is an animated image composed of observations by the Virtual Telescope Project taken five days ago.

This GIF, composed of observations by the Virtual Telescope Project, shows asteroid 1998 OR2 (the central dot) as it traversed the constellation Hydra five days before its closest approach to Earth. It was about 4.4 million miles (7.08 million kilometres) away from Earth at the time. Credits: Dr. Gianluca Masi (Virtual Telescope Project)

The asteroid was was discovered by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking program in July 1998. It’s just over a 2 kilometres in diameter. In today’s flyby it passed about four times the distance to the moon. The next close pass is expected in 2079.

According to NASA Asteroid 1998 OR2 “is still categorized as a large ‘potentially hazardous asteroid’ because, over the course of millennia, very slight changes in the asteroid’s orbit may cause it to present more of a hazard to Earth than it does now.”

JPL Small-Body Database Browser. See full animation. Credit: JPL.

NASA hosted an excellent 30 minute session on asteroids and Asteroid 1998 OR2 a couple of days ago. It’s well worth watching.

About Marc Boucher

Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive LLC. Boucher has 20+ years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 30 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

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