MYSTERY WIRE — There is some good news in this time of worry due to the coronavirus pandemic. A giant asteroid will not hit the Earth, but will fly relatively close. Relative being the key here. Asteroid 1998 OR2 will pass by Earth at a distance 16 times further than the distance to the Moon on Wednesday, April 29.
According to the Planetary Radar Science Group, which is tracking this asteroid, 1998 OR2 is approximately 2 km in diameter and rotates once every 4.1 hours. The group says Doppler images of the asteroid show it has some topographic features, such as hills and ridges.
NASA is also tracking this asteroid and other near earth objects (NEO). According to NASA’s NEO tracking web site, As they orbit the Sun, NEOs can occasionally approach close to Earth. Note that a “close” passage astronomically can be very far away in human terms: millions or even tens of millions of kilometers. CNEOS software detects predicted Earth close approaches for all known NEOs, in both the past and the future, and tabulates the close approach data organized by time.
CNN is also reporting on this asteroid. It is reporting you can actually watch it pass by Earth. We’ve provided the link to the YouTube page here that will be streaming the event live.