A huge asteroid is set to safely pass earth earth on April 29, 2020 and though the asteroid will not hit the earth excitement is building among both professional and amateur astronomers to catch a glimpse of this asteroid.
According to experts, the asteroid is at least a mile wide (1.8 km) and maybe 2 1/2 times that big (4.1 km). The Virtual Telescope Project in Rome will host a free, online public viewing of the asteroid on April 28, 2020 but it is feared that the coronavirus outbreak in Italy and other parts of the world may cast a shadow on this plan.
Asteroid (52768) 1998 OR2 will pass at some 4 million miles (6 million km), or about 16 times the Earth-moon distance but it is still classified as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid.
Wikipedia has listed 22 Potentially Hazardous Asteroids but none of them is known to be on a collision course with Earth. The orbit of asteroid (52768) 1998 OR2 is well known for at least the next 200 years and astronomers claim that the closest approach of this asteroid to Earth in this century and the next will happen in 2079.
Researchers at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico will study asteroid (52768) 1998 OR2 from April 8 to 24, 2020. The asteroid is travelling through space at 19,461 miles per hour (31,320 km/h). It is expected that Arecibo would be able to capture high resolution radar images which will help in providing scientists a better estimate of the space rock’s size and shape.
Notably, there will be closer approaches of some more asteroids in the future, including Apophis, which is expected tp come very close to Earth in 2029. Asteroid (415029) 2011 UL21 will pass the earth slightly farther than (52768) 1998 OR2 in June 2024.
Asteroid (52768) 1998 OR2 was first spotted on July 24, 1998, from Haleakala Observatory, Hawaii.