Giant Asteroid to Zip Past Earth on Christmas, Astronomers say ‘Don’t Worry’
Earthlings will have an opportunity to see two amazing celestial events on this Christmas: a full moon and an asteroid zooming past the home planet. Astronomers said that an asteroid, named Asteroid 2003 SD220, is heading towards earth on Christmas Eve, but will pass at a distance of about 6.8 million miles from the inhabitable planet.
The astronomers also said that people on earth should not panic as the space rock will not set off earthquakes. The US space agency, NASA, also confirmed the asteroid fly and said that its scientists are carefully tracking Asteroid 2003 SD220. The asteroid will flyby earth at a safe distance and won't come anywhere near impacting the planet, NASA added.
Lance Benner, leader of NASA's asteroid radar research program, said the asteroid flyby will be an opportunity to study it for future. “The data acquired during this pass of the asteroid will help us plan for radar imaging during its upcoming closer approach in 2018”, the scientist explained.
NASA also predicted that the asteroid will fly by once again at a closer range in 2018. That time, Asteroid 2003 SD220 will be just 1.7 million miles from earth. NASA scientists plan to use radar images to study the asteroid when it will zoom past the planet. The data will tell them about sizes, compositions and general shapes of asteroids.
Apart from asteroid flyby, space enthusiasts will see a full moon on Christmas. This will be the first Christmas full moon since 1977. According to NASA, it won’t happen until 2034.
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