It seems that we have another large asteroid that has passed relatively close to our planet. We are speaking in the past since, according to some media reports, this has “approached” the earth specifically at 1:46 a.m. on February 16, 2023.
It has caught our attention especially since this asteroid has come within 4.5 million km of our planet, the closest it has come to us in over 400 yearsas explained by EarthSky.
Called 199145 or 2005 YY128, it was discovered in 2005 by astronomers at the Kitt Peak Observatory in southern Arizona. Over the past 17 years, researchers have mapped its orbit by the space with a high degree of precision, so it has always been controlled.
Knowing that its approach was imminent, amateurs and astronomers using professional telescopes have been able to spot this rock from space. He traveled through the vast universe at a speed of 88,740 km/h, relative to the Earth. Despite the high speed, its movement could be detected.
However, despite the news, there has really been nothing to fear (as is usually the case, at least for the moment). Based on studies of its motion, astronomers determined that it would safely pass our planet’s south pole at about 12 times the distance of the Moon.
What is a potentially dangerous asteroid?
However, we cannot ignore that it has been an asteroid that they call potentially dangerous (PHA, Potentially Dangerous Asteroids). And it is that, if 2005 YY128 had hit Earth, it would have caused serious damage, regardless of size.
Of course, clarify that astronomers classify asteroids as potentially dangerous if their orbits and brightness (the brightness of an asteroid suggests its size) meet certain parameters, but this does not mean that an asteroid is a real danger to Earth at this time. (and hopefully it stays that way).
“The largest near-Earth asteroids (>1 km in diameter) have the potential to cause geological and climatic effects on a global scale, disrupting human civilization and perhaps even causing species extinction.”wrote the Global Challenges Foundation.
And it is that, the NEOs (near Earth objects), which have an average size of about 200 m, would already be enough to wreak great havoc on our planet, so let’s imagine what such an asteroid could have generated.