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Asteroid warning: Neil Degrasse Tyson says a 'refrigerator-sized' asteroid will pass by Earth on November 2
Some asteroids have approached Earth at very close distances, some even getting past the Moon. Renowned scientist Neil Degrasse Tyson has warned one particular asteroid that will be approaching Earth at an incredibly close distance a day before the US Elections.
The asteroid that will be coming to Earth on November 2 is referred to as 2018 VP1 and when it reaches Earth, it will get as close as 0.02 lunar distances. This is equivalent to 5,849 kilometers, which is the closest an asteroid has been to Earth. This would also make VP1 clear enough for astronomers and space agencies to notice in the skies. Dr. Tyson shared the news of VP1 on his Instagram, describing the size of the asteroid as similar to that of a refrigerator.
“Asteroid 2018 VP1, a refrigerator-sized space rock, is hurtling towards us at more than 25,000 mi/hr. It may buzz cut the Earth on Nov 2, the day before the US Presidential Election. But it’s not big enough to cause harm. So if the World ends in 2020, it won’t be the fault of the Universe,” wrote Tyson.
With how small VP1 is at 6.5 feet in diameter, it will likely burn up on entry should it collide with our planet when it hits the atmosphere. It will then translate as fireballs in the sky as it burns up, when air seeps into the cracks and crevices of the space rock, causing it to explode.
Meanwhile, an asteroid known as 2020 TF6 most recently passed by Earth on Monday, October 19. It did not pose a threat to the planet as it only got as close as 0.40 lunar distances or 154,085 kilometers away from Earth. Even if it was a relatively small asteroid, measuring between 8.4 to 19 meters in diameter, scientist Dr. Gianluca Masi was able to snap its travel through space and towards Earth. Dr. Masi snapped an image of the asteroid as it flew from Earth at more than 970,000 kilometers.
“The telescope tracked the fast apparent motion of the asteroid, this is why stars show as long trails, while an asteroid looks like a bright and sharp dot of light in the center of the image, marked by an arrow,” said Dr. Masi.