A space rock the size of a car was detected on Tuesday and, to astronomers’ surprise, the asteroid’s trajectory showed it would pass extremely close to Earth hours later.
The asteroid has been dubbed “2021 RS2” by the International Astronomical Union, and its closest approach was today, Wednesday, at approximately 3:28 p.m. Puerto Rico time.
“It is estimated that it passed only 9,532 miles (15,340 km) above Earth’s surface, which is really close because we can say that it passed through a diameter greater than Earth’s, because our planet It measures approximately 7,917 miles”, highlighted the Astronomy Society of the Caribbean (SAC).
Actually, this is the closest asteroid to the Earth so far this year.
The space rock travels in space at a speed of 39,366 mph (63,353 km/h).
Sack explained that we were never at risk because, being an asteroid about 3.5 meters (11.5 ft) in diameter, it would have almost completely disintegrated if it had entered the atmosphere. However, it would cause the sight of an impressive meteor to disintegrate it.
The educational unit explained that small asteroids are very difficult to detect in advance.
“They are dark rocks and despite the technology available, when they are close enough they can start to reflect a little bit of sunlight, so trying to pick up a small, dark object at a great distance is not easy at all. The important thing is that larger asteroids can usually be detected earlier”, the organization clarified.
Asteroid 2021 RS2 was detected yesterday by the 60 (1.52 m) telescope at Mount Lemmon Observatory in Arizona.