In recent years, there has been a growing effort to find, track and study asteroids that could potentially threaten Earth one day. To counter this threat, NASA carried out the first planetary defense test against potential asteroid impact with its DART test. The space agency studied the asteroids Didymos and Dimorphos to better understand the potential threat of asteroid impacts and to develop techniques for deflecting them. Soon after the impact, ESA’s Hera spacecraft observed the result of the collision and reported the findings for further study.
These close approaches serve as a reminder of the importance of continuing to study and track asteroids to better understand and prepare for potential threats. NASA has now revealed details about an asteroid that will pass Earth closely today. Is it dangerous? Know details.
Asteroid 2023 JL1 details
NASA has reported that an asteroid, designated as Asteroid 2023 JL1, is traveling toward Earth at a staggering speed of 26331 kilometers per hour. It will make its closest approach to the Earth today, May 15, at a distance of 2.4 million kilometers. Furthermore, NASA has revealed that it belongs to the Apollo group of Near-Earth Asteroids.
In terms of size, NASA estimates it to be around 39 feet wide, making it almost as big as a bus! Although the asteroid might seem completely harmless due to its relatively small size, it is important to note that a similar-sized asteroid caused major damage in Russia nearly a decade ago. The asteroid which exploded over the city of Chelyabinsk was just 59 feet wide. When it exploded, it damaged nearly 8000 buildings and left over 1000 people injured.
In spite of the fact that NASA scientists estimate that an asteroid would have to be about 96 km wide to completely and utterly wipe out life on Earth, smaller asteroids such as Asteroid 2023 JL1 can still cause damage up to some extent.
How are Asteroids named?
According to ESA, the process of assigning a provisional designation to an asteroid begins when a single observer detects it on two consecutive nights and then sends their findings to the Minor Planet Centre of the International Astronomical Union (IAU). The IAU assigns a provisional designation, which typically consists of a serial number like “2023 HV5”. The provisional designation includes the year of the asteroid’s discovery, followed by two letters that indicate the order of its discovery during that year.
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