Bhubaneswar: As if the fear of coronavirus was not enough, now news of a very big asteroid passing close to Earth on April 29 is giving sleepless nights to people the world over.
The US space agency NASA had said that an asteroid, 1.8 km wide and 4 km in length, roughly 10 times that of the Himalayas will fly past the Earth at 4:28 pm on April 29.
Although the space agency clarified that it will not have an impact on the Earth, social media doesn’t think so. It is flooded with rumours on the possible annihilation of earth and the entire life forms on the planet due to a collision.
Closer home, Deputy Director of Pathani Samanta Planetarium in Bhubaneswar, Dr Subhendu Pattnaik has appealed to the people not to panic saying the asteroid will pass safely without interfering with the planet.
“A large number of asteroids, comets and other objects between Mars and Jupiter revolve around the Sun. The size of these objects varies from one metre to 1,000 kilometres. The largest asteroid is Ceres, which is around 1,000 kilometres in diameter and is listed as a dwarf planet by astronomers,” said Samanta.
Sometimes, these asteroids enter the earth’s atmosphere due to the gravitational force and burn up soon after, leaving a streak of light in the sky, he stated.
“99 percent of the asteroids burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere and do not fall on the surface. But, if the size of the asteroid is huge and it falls on the surface of the Earth, it is likely to create damage of various proportions,” he added.
- The name of the asteroid is (52768) 1998 OR2
- It was discovered in 1998
- It will pass at a distance of 4 million miles (6 million km), about 16 times the Earth-moon distance
- The last incident of widespread destruction due to Asteroid was on June 30, 1908 in Siberia, Russia.