NewsGiant asteroid twice the size of Warsaw Palace set for close encounter with Earth this Friday

Giant asteroid twice the size of Warsaw Palace set for close encounter with Earth this Friday

The planetoid 2008 OS7 will fly near the earth.
The planetoid 2008 OS7 will fly near the earth.
Images source: © Licensor

5:53 AM EST, January 31, 2024, updated: 4:36 AM EST, March 7, 2024

The 2008 OS7 asteroid will swing past Earth next Friday, February 2nd, at 9:41 AM Eastern Time. Astronomers assure us there's no reason to worry, as it will be at a comfortable distance of 1.74 million miles away.

The asteroid will whiz by us at an estimated speed of about 11.18 miles per second, or 40,254 miles per hour. In terms of size, it could measure between 689 and 1,574 feet in diameter - potentially making it nearly twice the size of the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw, which stands 777.56 feet tall.

The 2008 OS7 asteroid, orbiting the Sun every 2.6 years, is part of a group of asteroids that orbit close to Earth, known as the Apollo group. The orbits of these asteroids intersect with not only Earth's orbit but also those of Venus and occasionally Mercury. The group's name originates from asteroid (1862) Apollo. Almost 19,000 asteroids of this type are currently recorded by astronomers.

Near-Earth objects (NEO)

Objects, like asteroids, which come near to Earth are referred to as "Near-Earth Objects", or simply, NEOs. This group comprises bodies whose orbits pass closer than 1.3 astronomical units from the Sun - an astronomical unit being the average Earth-Sun distance, about 93 million miles.

At present, several tens of thousands of NEOs are known and constantly monitored, cataloged, and tracked by specialized observational projects. Notably, among them are the so-called potentially hazardous asteroids. These are bodies that approach as close as 0.05 astronomical units (7.5 million miles) and are sufficiently large in size to cause a regional-scale disaster in the event of an impact - they're typically larger than 459 feet.

The asteroid that will pass by Earth this coming Friday belongs to the group of these potentially dangerous asteroids, approaching at a distance of 0.019 astronomical units.

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