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Asteroid 1998 OR2 to Safely Fly Past Earth This Week – Jet Propulsion Laboratory

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The large near-Earth object is well known to astronomers and will get no closer than 3.9 million miles to our planet.


A large near-Earth asteroid will safely pass by our planet
on Wednesday morning, providing astronomers with an exceptional opportunity to
study the 1.5-mile-wide (2-kilometer-wide) object in great detail.

The asteroid, called 1998 OR2, will make its closest
approach at 5:55 a.m. EDT (2:55 a.m. PDT). While this is known as a “close
approach” by astronomers, it’s still very far away: The asteroid will get
no closer than about 3.9 million miles (6.3 million kilometers), passing more
than 16 times farther away than the Moon.


This GIF, composed of observations by the Virtual Telescope Project, shows asteroid 1998 OR2 (the central dot) as it traversed the constellation Hydra five days before its closest approach to Earth. It was about 4.4 million miles (7.08 million kilometers) away from Earth at the time. Credit: Dr. Gianluca Masi (Virtual Telescope Project)

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Asteroid 1998 OR2 was discovered by the Near-Earth Asteroid
Tracking program at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in July 1998, and for the
past two decades astronomers have tracked it. As a result, we understand its
orbital trajectory very precisely, and we can say with confidence that this
asteroid poses no possibility of impact for at least the next 200 years. Its
next close approach to Earth will occur in 2079, when it will pass by closer –
only about four times the lunar distance.

Despite this, 1998 OR2 is still categorized as a large
“potentially hazardous asteroid” because, over the course of
millennia, very slight changes in the asteroid’s orbit may cause it to present
more of a hazard to Earth than it does now. This is one of the reasons why
tracking this asteroid during its close approach – using telescopes and especially
ground-based radar – is important,
as observations such as these will enable an even better long-term assessment
of the hazard presented by this asteroid.

Close approaches by large asteroids like 1998 OR2 are quite
rare. The previous close approach by a large asteroid was made by asteroid
Florence in September 2017. That 3-mile-wide (5-kilometer-wide) object zoomed
past Earth at 18 lunar distances. On average, we expect asteroids of this size
to fly by our planet this close roughly once every five years.

Since they are bigger, asteroids of this size reflect much
more light than smaller asteroids and are therefore easier to detect with
telescopes. Almost all near-Earth asteroids (about 98%) of the size of 1998 OR2
or larger have already been discovered, tracked and cataloged. It is extremely
unlikely there could be an impact over the next century by one of these large
asteroids, but efforts to discover all asteroids that could pose an impact
hazard to Earth continue.

JPL hosts the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS)
for NASA’s Near-Earth Object Observations Program in NASA’s Planetary Defense
Coordination Office.

More information about CNEOS, asteroids and near-Earth
objects can be found at:

https://cneos.jpl.nasa.gov

For more information about NASA’s Planetary Defense
Coordination Office, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/planetarydefense

For asteroid and comet news and updates, follow @AsteroidWatch
on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/AsteroidWatch

News Media Contact

Ian J. O’Neill
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
818-354-2649
ian.j.oneill@jpl.nasa.gov

Josh Handal
NASA Headquarters, Washington
202-358-2307
joshua.a.handal@nasa.gov

2020-081

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What to expect from the ECB today [Video] – FXStreet

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– Overview of market sentiment at the European open (00:00).

– Detailed look at what to expect from the ECB announcement today (2:22).

– Merkel over delivers on the latest German stimulus package (17:40).

– Oil volatility here to stay as OPEC+ meeting looms (19:17).

– UK hits out at China over HK security law as they look for 5G alternatives (26:18).

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The cleanest pocket of air on Earth? It's in the Southern Ocean, between Tasmania and Antarctica – National Post

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The cleanest air on Earth lies in a pocket of sky between Tasmania and Antarctica, scientists say. 

A team of researchers at Colorado State University conducted a bioaerosol study of the Southern Ocean from Tasmania to Antarctica — the first of its kind — and drew air samples at the marine boundary level, where the atmosphere meets the ocean surface. 

“We were able to use the bacteria in the air over the Southern Ocean (SO) as a diagnostic tool to infer key properties of the lower atmosphere,” microbian ecologist Thomas Hill, from Colorado State University, told Science Alert.

Via modelling and analysis, the team noted that the samples were free of aerosol particles — a sure indicator of human activity, like fossil fuel burning, agriculture and fertilizer production — blown in from other parts of the world. The samples were also split into latitudinal zones, so that the team could observe how the air changed as they moved further south. 


Kathryn Moore collects bioaerosol samples in the Southern Ocean.

Kendall Sherrin/CSU

Via wind patterns, airborne microorganisms can travel vast distances. However, the bacterial make-up of the samples suggested that the closer they were taken to Antarctica, the cleaner they became. This suggests that aerosols from distant land masses and human activities are not travelling south into Antarctic air.

Instead, the samples appear to be composed of microorganisms from the ocean and little else. 

“It suggests that the SO (Southern Ocean) is one of very few places on Earth that has been minimally affected by anthropogenic activities,” Hill said. 

The results counter similar studies that were carried out in oceans in the subtropics and the Northern Hemisphere, which concluded that most microbes came from upwind continents.

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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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