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A giant asteroid that looks like it's wearing a face mask will fly by Earth early Wednesday – CTV News

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An asteroid estimated to be 1.2 miles wide will fly by Earth early Wednesday morning, but it’s not expected to collide with our planet.

The asteroid is called 52768 (1998 OR2), and it was first spotted in 1998. On April 29, it will pass within 3,908,791 miles of Earth, moving at 19,461 miles per hour. That’s still 16 times farther than the distance between Earth and the moon.

The flyby is expected to occur at 5:56 a.m. ET, according to NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies. The center tracks Near-Earth Objects, or NEOs, that could collide with Earth. They have been tracking this particular asteroid for 20 years, according to NASA.

You can watch it live on The Virtual Telescope’s website. Gianluca Masi, founder and scientific director of The Virtual Telescope in Italy, has been tracking and imaging it for some time.

If it did impact Earth, the asteroid is “large enough to cause global effects,” according to NASA, back when the asteroid was first discovered.

And if an asteroid could be aware of such things, it appears to be wearing a face mask in deference to the pandemic, according to new images from Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.

“The small-scale topographic features such as hills and ridges on one end of asteroid 1998 OR2 are fascinating scientifically,” said Anne Virkki, head of planetary radar at Arecibo Observatory, in a statement. “But since we are all thinking about Covid-19, these features make it look like 1998 OR2 remembered to wear a mask.”

Arecibo Observatory is a National Science Foundation facility managed by the University of Central Florida. A team of experts has been monitoring this near-Earth asteroid, among others. The observatory is supported by NASA’s Near-Earth Object Observations Program and has been analyzing asteroids since the mid-’90s.

During the pandemic, scientists at Arecibo are continuing to make their observations on behalf of planetary defense. In line with social distancing, they have limited the number of scientists and radar operators at the facility, and they’re wearing masks during observations.

The asteroid was classified as a potentially hazardous object because it’s bigger than 500 feet and comes within 5 million miles of Earth’s orbit. The experts at Arecibo can monitor the asteroids and use observations to determine their path in the future to see if they pose a risk to Earth.

“The radar measurements allow us to know more precisely where the asteroid will be in the future, including its future close approaches to Earth,” said Flaviane Venditti, a research scientist at the observatory, in a statement. “In 2079, asteroid 1998 OR2 will pass Earth about 3.5 times closer than it will this year, so it is important to know its orbit precisely.”

It’s the largest asteroid expected to zip by Earth within the next two months, but it’s not the largest ever.

That honor belongs to the asteroid 3122 Florence (1981 ET3), which flew by and luckily missed colliding with Earth on September 1, 2017. It will make another pass again on September 2, 2057. That asteroid is estimated to be between two and a half and five and a half miles wide.

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The Strawberry Moon Eclipse May Be Visible Over Metro Vancouver This Week – 604 Now

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Metro Vancouver is in for a treat this week, as we’ll be able to see the Strawberry Moon eclipse shine over the city this Friday.

Named after the red summer fruit, this phenomenon is June’s full moon – or otherwise called the Hot Moon or Rose moon.

RELATED: Vancouver Shoots Down Motion To Allow Drinking in Public Areas

This particular moon, however, kicks off 2020’s “eclipse season,” and will be visible during the moonrise and moonset. 

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You’ll just have to be ready at either 5:30 am or 8 pm, Friday, to see the eclipse over Metro Vancouver. 

So, will you be checking it out this week? 

Friday, June 5th is also the day of the second George Floyd protest, happening downtown.

For more Vancouver stories, head to our News section.

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How To Watch The Mesmerising Penumbral Lunar Eclipse This Week – Tyla

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A penumbral lunar eclipse is taking place this Friday 5th June – and you may be able to catch a glimpse of the mesmerising spectacle if conditions are good.

A penumbral eclipse is more subtle than a total eclipse but just as fascinating, according to the Royal Observatory Greenwich, explaining that the phenomenon occurs “when the Moon travels only through the outer, fainter part of the Earth’s shadow, or ‘penumbra’.”

The penumbra causes only a slight darkening of the Moon’s surface, with the Moon still exposed to some direct sunlight (Credit: Unsplash)

They add: “This happens when the Earth moves between the Sun and Moon but the three do not form a perfectly straight line.

“The penumbra causes only a slight darkening of the Moon’s surface, with the Moon still exposed to some direct sunlight, so this type of eclipse is easy to miss.”

This process of passing through the Earth’s shadow not only means that the moon’s surface appears darker, but that it may appear to take on a reddish or tea-coloured tinge.

The Strawberry Moon is the nickname given to the full moon in June. It is said that Native Americans and European tribes would give names to the moon because they used it to map out their yearly calendar and times of harvest.

This Friday’s penumbral eclipse will be visible from most of Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and the East coast of South America.

Friday's penumbral eclipse will be visible from most of Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and the East coast of South America (Credit: Unsplash)
Friday’s penumbral eclipse will be visible from most of Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and the East coast of South America (Credit: Unsplash)

It’s worth noting that a penumbral eclipse can be more difficult to see with the naked eye – this is because only a portion of the sun’s light is blocked from reaching the moon.

According to NASA, the eclipse starts at 18.46 BST and ends at 22.04 BST. If you want to try to catch from your window, it will be at its clearest at 20.25 BST.

The moon will be 230,000 miles from the Earth – quite a close point in its orbit – which means that it should appear quite big.

This year’s penumbral eclipse will pass close pass to the giant red star, Antares, which is around 12 times the size of our own sun.

The Strawberry Moon is the nickname given to the full moon in June (Credit: Unsplash)
The Strawberry Moon is the nickname given to the full moon in June (Credit: Unsplash)

Happy gazing, earthlings.

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The June 2020 Night Sky – Portugal Resident

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Welcome to the June night sky. This is the month of the summer Solstice in the northern hemisphere. It happens on the 20th this year and, after that date, the Sun will appear to move slightly lower each day in the mid-day sky. June 20 is, therefore, the longest day of the year and the first day of summer.

Although June also has the shortest nights of the year, it’s not short on meteor showers with more than a dozen of them visible during the month. This means that on any dark night in June, you will have a better-than-average chance of seeing a shooting star.

On the 21st, there is an annular eclipse of the Sun. These types of eclipses occur because, at that time, the Moon is slightly further away from the Earth than usual and, therefore, does not cover the solar disc fully and the ring of fire effect will be seen. Unfortunately, this event is not visible from Europe. The eclipse track is mainly over the Middle East and central China, with the famous city of Wuhan just missing out on the ring of fire but seeing an 86% eclipse at 4pm local time.

The gas giant planets Jupiter and Saturn are now rising just after midnight over in the south-eastern sky. They are both in the far southern constellation of Sagittarius.

Jupiter is the brightest of the pair, and this year Jupiter can be used to help find Pluto. This close encounter between the largest and the smallest planets in the solar system will happen three times this year and is called a triple conjunction. This is quite rare and the last time that it occurred was 65 years ago.

Pluto is seven times further away from the Sun than Jupiter and much smaller, so it is more than a million times fainter and can only be seen in a large telescope and a dark sky.

The ringed planet Saturn is always a fine sight through any small telescope with its rings and multiple faint Moons visible.

Jupiter has four major moons, and these are quite easy to see with any small telescope. Jupiter’s Moons were discovered by Galileo using a tiny homemade telescope magnifying about 20 times and this was more than 400 years ago.

The Moon is full on the 5th, last quarter on the 13th, new on the 21st and first quarter on June 28, 2020.

| features@algarveresident.com
Clive Jackson is the Director of the Camera Obscura (next to the Castle in Tavira), specialising in education and public outreach.
281 322 527 | info@torredetavira.com www.torredetavira.com

To see the June Sky Map click on the pdf link below

2020-06 June nightsky

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