Asteroid 2017 TJ4 will come dangerously close to Earth today at 5.15 pm (IST) at a staggering speed of 19,863mph, according to the NASA. Yes, you read it right. Earth will have a close encounter with yet another asteroid (space rock). If asteroid 2017 TJ4 hits the Earth, massive casualties may occur. It is worth mentioning here that asteroids, if hit Earth, can bring tsunamis, shock waves and flattening winds that could be catastrophic. The space rocks approach towards the Earth due to the gravitational forces that affect them. It is said that one day all life on the Earth will be extinct. Not only life, but the Earth will also extinct someday and an asteroid could be the possible reason. Shocked to hear that? Well, a car-sized asteroid slams into the Earth's atmosphere about once in a year. Whereas, an asteroid large enough to threaten the existence of life on Earth arrives once in every few million.
Coming back to asteroid 2017 TJ4, the astronomers have classified the space rock as “Near-Earth Object” or NEO. It is to be noted that all NEOs are comets and asteroids that come flying close to Earth. The space rock, which measures somewhere in the range of 78.7ft to 177ft (24m to 54m) in diameter, is also classified as an Aten-type asteroid.
According to the NASA, asteroid 2017 TJ4 will not come close enough to sound the alarm. At its closest, the space rock will approach Earth from a distance of around 0.03447 astronomical units. Notably, a single astronomical unit measures the distance between the Earth and the Sun – about 93 million miles (149.6 million km). This means Asteroid TJ4 will zip past Earth by just 3.2 million miles (5.15 million km). Relax, our planet is safe and so are we.
After today’s approach, asteroid 2017 TJ4 will come close to Earth next year on February 11, 2020. Then, the asteroid will make two more Earth close approaches in August 2030 and January 2031. Importantly, the asteroid was first spotted flying around the solar system on October 13, 2017.