A fast-moving asteroid bound for Earth was discovered on July 25, 2019, by astronomer Luisa Fernanda Zambrano-Marin and her group at the Aricebo Observatory in Puerto Rico. According to SciTech Daily, the asteroid allowed astronomers a window of just 30 minutes to learn as much as they could about it before it flew in from a blindspot. Then it vanished.
Asteroids or comets that are closer to Earth than 1.3 astronomical units (au), or the distance between the Earth and the Sun, are known as near-earth objects (NEOs). Nearly 30,000 asteroids are thought to be known to humans, according to the Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), and any such object that is wider than 460 feet (140 m) across is thought to be potentially harmful (PHO).
In order to help them in their quest, telescopes like the one in Puerto Rico have been created. Astronomers strive to maintain a watchful look in the skies for asteroids that may be coming near the Earth.
What took place in 2019?
At the University of Central Florida (UCF), Zambrano-Marin supervises the Arecibo Observatory for the National Science Foundation (NSF). The radar scientists on the team were informed of an approaching asteroid in July 2019.
Since it had never been seen before and was coming from the solar opposition, which is a blind area for Earth, the crew was unaware of it. The team immediately got to work gathering all the information they could on the asteroid. However, the astronomers had very little time to record their observations because of their relative speed, which was almost 14 miles (23 km) per second.
Ultimately, the scientists only had approximately 30 minutes to observe the asteroid, but it was enough to learn about its size, nature, and what holds it together.
2019 asteroid okay
The asteroid’s diameter ranged from 229 feet (70 meters) to 422 feet (130 meters), which is barely below the minimum required to classify it as potentially hazardous.
In addition to its high speeds, the asteroid rotated at a rate of roughly 3-5 minutes, which places it in the category of very fast-rotating asteroids about which we don’t know a great deal.
A C-type asteroid, which is a form of asteroid that is relatively frequent in our solar system, is also what asteroid 2019 OK is. Given their rapid rotation, these are probably composed of silicate and clay rocks, and they require a minimum cohesion rate of 350 Pa to remain intact. The researchers noted in their report, which was last month published in The Planetary Science Journal, that this is far less than the intrinsic strength of broken rocks on Earth.
The telescope at the Arecibo Observatory collapsed in 2020, and the researchers are now doing their research by sifting through the massive amounts of data gathered over four decades. According to the research report, the team has calculated the orbit of asteroid 2019 OK for the next 100 years based on the information they gathered in 2019.
China only recently revealed that it was constructing a radar system for planetary defense.
This week, you can witness some asteroids the size of airplanes fly by just a few million kilometers from the Earth. Two of them, including one that is relatively smaller, will pass by Earth on July 24 at a distance of just under five million miles, while on July 25, 2022 OA, an asteroid that was recently discovered this year, will pass by at a distance of just 1.2 million miles.