Next Month a Mountain-Size Asteroid Will Appear As a Star

A large asteroid is set to secure a close pass by Earth in April. Although it may be “potentially precarious” as astronomers say. The only display it will be putting on over the next few decades will be in the bedtime sky. Asteroid 1998 OR2 is as much as 2.5 miles (4.1 km) across, which makes it comparable to a decent-size mass in many parts of the globe. 

Not Hazardous

Fortunately, when it makes its next close appearance on April 29, it will pass by at a very safe interval of 4 million miles (6 million km). BUT it is still likely dangerous. Though, because of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Studies groups anything reasonably bright that comes within about 4.6 million miles (7.4 million km) of Earth as dangerous. That means there are lots of likely hazardous asteroids out there that we know of. And there are virtually none of them as a real danger to humans at any moment. 

But 1998 OR2 is still quite a beginning — the biggest asteroid to fly by our planet in 2020 which means it may be visible next month to even amateurish astronomers.

1998 OR2

“Skywatchers peering through telescopes will see it as a slow-moving star”. NASA solar system representative Eddie Irizarry pens for EarthSky. “Observers with at least 6-inch or 8-inch telescopes (the number indicates the size of the primary mirror) will see the asteroid (very slowly) moving in front of the stars”. Eddie offers more revealing tips for spotting the space rock. If you are not having a big enough telescope to spot- no problem. Rome made Virtual Telescope Project already will cover with a live stream that will start on April 28. VTP has already scoping 1998 OR2 and grabs some images of it.

Story of Other Asteroids

And if you still miss it completely, the small-town-size mountain rock will make an even closer fly in 2079. Some other big space rocks will come close enough for investigation in 2024 and 2027. In 2029, the mega-asteroid Apophis will make a close pass that was once causing concern. It is smaller than the 1998 OR2.