Asteroids, asteroids and asteroids. Classified as potentially hazardous asteroid by NASA’s CNEOS, the space rock dubbed as 2019 GT3 zoom past the Earth on Friday at around 9:51 am (IST). Yes, you read it right. Earth had yet another close encounter with a 1,214-feet space rock. We were lucky enough that the asteroid, as big as the Empire State Building, did not hit our planet or else massive destruction could have occurred. Asteroid 2019 GT3 was powerful enough to destroy an entire city during an impact event. It is to be noted that asteroids pose greatest danger to the Earth and human life on it. Asteroids (space rocks) are small, rocky objects that orbit the Sun. The space rocks approach towards the Earth due to the gravitational forces that affect them. Asteroids can bring tsunamis, shock waves and flattening winds that could be catastrophic. A large number of asteroids are hovering all around the Earth and we might get hit too sooner or later. In August this year, asteroids identified as 2019 ON, 2006 QQ23, 454094 2013 BZ45, 2018 PN22, 2016 PD, 2002 JR100 and 2019 OU1 would have hit our planet. Lucky we are, as they all failed to hit our planet and we are safe.
Coming back to the asteroid 2019 GT3, the supergiant space rock travelled towards Earth at a staggering speed of 30,500 miles per hour. During its closest approach, asteroid 2019 GT3 was about 0.04996 astronomical units or around 4.6 million miles from the planet’s centre. It is worth mentioning here that asteroid 2019 GT3 was first observed on April 3.
According to the NASA’s CNEOS, asteroid 2019 GT3’s next near-Earth approach will happen on June 20, 2030. During this time, the asteroid will zip past the planet from a distance of 0.09599 astronomical units or roughly 8.9 million miles away. Due to 2019 GT3’s close-intersections with Earth’s orbit, it has been classified by CNEOS as a potentially hazardous asteroid.
“Potentially hazardous asteroids are currently defined based on parameters that measure the asteroid’s potential to make threatening close approaches to the Earth,” CNEOS said in a statement. “Specifically, all asteroids with a minimum orbit intersection distance of 0.5 [astronomical units] or less and an absolute magnitude of 22.0 or less are considered PHAs,” it added.