Talk about a scare. NASA revealed that a giant asteroid is heading our way at high speeds on Halloween.
However, there is no need to panic, as the asteroid will nearly miss the Earth by about 310,000 miles — which is a large distance away — and will actually pass closer to the moon at only 180,000 miles (280,000 km) away.
NASA's Pan-Starrs I telescope located in Hawaii spotted the asteroid, identified as 2015 TB145 on Oct. 10. The asteroid is estimated to be about 1,542 ft (470 m) in diameter, although estimates range between 689 to over 2,000 ft (210 to 650 m), and is described as being "extremely eccentric" and "cometary in nature." Its eccentric orbit may be the reason it was only discovered a few days ago.
Thankfully, it's a safe distance away, because 2015 TB145 will pass by Earth with the top speed of about 78,000 mph (35 km/s). Considering its size, speed and late detection, the asteroid could have caused serious damage if it wasn't so far away.
The asteroid is expected to approach the Earth within 0.0032 au, or 1.3 Lunar distance (310,000 miles) on Oct. 31, with the closest approach occurring at 11:14 a.m. EDT.
While it will safely fly by without any danger of collision, we may have the opportunity to see the asteroid using a telescope of a decent size and magnification of about eight inches in diameter or larger. The brightness of the asteroid is said to have an absolute magnitude of 19.9, meaning it won't be visible to the naked eye. It will move across the constellation Orion on the night of Oct. 30 into Halloween.
NASA said it hopes to capture images with a range of resolution as high as 2 pixels as the asteroid passes by.
Photo: Lwp Kommunikáció | Flickr