Asteroid 9 times larger than Queen Elizabeth 2 ship to whisk past Earth on May 31
Washington: Asteroid 1998 QE2 will sail past Earth on May 31, getting no closer than about 3.6 million miles (5.8 million kilometers), or about 15 times the distance between Earth and the moon.
While QE2 is not of much interest to those astronomers and scientists on the lookout for hazardous asteroids, it is of interest to those who dabble in radar astronomy and have a 230-foot (70-meter) -- or larger- radar telescope at their disposal.
"Asteroid 1998 QE2 will be an outstanding radar imaging target at Goldstone and Arecibo and we expect to obtain a series of high-resolution images that could reveal a wealth of surface features," radar astronomer Lance Benner, the principal investigator for the Goldstone radar observations from NASA`s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California said.
"Whenever an asteroid approaches this closely, it provides an important scientific opportunity to study it in detail to understand its size, shape, rotation, surface features, and what they can tell us about its origin. We will also use new radar measurements of the asteroid`s distance and velocity to improve our calculation of its orbit and compute its motion farther into the future than we could otherwise," he said.
The closest approach of the asteroid occurs on May 31 at 1:59 pm.
This is the closest approach the asteroid will make to Earth for at least the next two centuries.
Asteroid 1998 QE2 was discovered on Aug. 19, 1998, by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) program near Socorro, New Mexico.
The asteroid, which is believed to be about 1.7 miles (2.7 kilometers) or nine Queen Elizabeth 2 ship-lengths in size, is not named after that 12-decked, transatlantic-crossing flagship for the Cunard Line.
Instead, the name is assigned by the NASA-supported Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Mass., which gives each newly discovered asteroid a provisional designation starting with the year of first detection, along with an alphanumeric code indicating the half-month it was discovered, and the sequence within that half-month.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Sheena's diary reveals disturbed relationship with parents: DNA reports
- Shameless cheating in exams, when will Bihar learn?
- Setback for Air India as 30 Boeing 787 Dreamliner pilots resign
- Sheena case: Indrani quizzed jointly with Peter, denies killing daughter
- Trade unions` strike hits normal life across India
- Sonakshi Sinha silences Twitter troll for calling her ugly and it's epic!
- Furkan, not Tiger Memon, arrested in Pakistan
- Modi effect! Pakistan-occupied Kashmir wants to be part of India
- Sheena Bora murder saga: 12 questions that police asked Peter Mukerjea during 12-hour grilling?
- Sunny Leone steamy condom ad (uncensored): Watch why this video is making news