Bhubaneswar: Deputy Director of Pathani Samanta Planetarium, Dr Suvendu Pattnaik has clarified that no asteroid of the size of four football fields would hit the earth on July 25 and destroy it.
The asteroid has flown past the planet earlier and at a much closer distance, he said.
“The asteroid, named ‘2008 GO20’ was discovered in 2008. It will be closest to earth at 11.21 pm as per India Standard Time (IST) on July 25. It will be around 45 lakh km away from the earth, which is about 11 to 12 times the earth-moon distance, so there is no danger of hitting the earth,” said Pattnaik.
“The width of the asteroid is 97 meters and length is 230 meters, around the size of four football fields. It is moving towards the planet at a speed of 29,000 km per hour, which is an average of 8 km per second,” he added.
“This asteroid was closer to the earth on June 20, 2008, and it will again be closest to the earth on July 24, 2034. Notably, this asteroid visited earth at a closer distance of 19 lakh km and 29 lakh km in 1935 and 1977 respectively,” Dr Pattnaik informed.
Though many asteroids are attracted to the earth by gravitational pull, 99.9 per cent of them are burnt to ashes in the atmosphere before they hit the earth’s surface, he said.
“Scientists have made a list of more than 23,428 large asteroids, near the earth. They are observing their movements. Out of them, 1,045 are dangerous asteroids. Astronomers and scientists have been researching how they can save the earth from dangerous asteroids. As per the study, no large asteroids will hit the earth till 2068. People should not pani,” Dr Pattnaik said.