Asteroid (File Photo)
An asteroid identified as 2019 OU1 is all set to approach towards Earth today at 11.36 am (IST) and will be very close to our planet's centre, according to the NASA. Don't worry, we are safe as the 100-feet-long potentially hazardous asteroid 2019 OU1 will fly past the Earth. However, NASA is keeping a close eye on the space rock. It is to be noted that asteroids are small, rocky objects that orbit the Sun. The space rocks (asteroids) approach towards the Earth due to the gravitational forces that affect them. Asteroids can bring tsunamis, shock waves and flattening winds that could be catastrophic. It is worth mentioning here that in recent times, many giant asteroids including 2019 OK, 2019 OD, 2015 HM10, 2019 OE, 2019 NN3, 2019 MB4, 2019 MT2, 2006 QV89, 2016 NO56M, RF12 and others approached towards the Earth, fortunately did not hit our planet. It is said that Earth will reach to its end one day and one of the possible reason for this could be an asteroid.
Coming back to asteroid 2019 OU1, the space rock will be traveling towards Earth today at a staggering speed of 29,000mph. According to NASA's Centre for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), asteroid 2019 OU1, at its closest approach, will be just 640,000 miles or 0.00688 AU from the planet's centre. One AU is the distance between the Earth and the Sun, so coming within just 0.00687 AU is perilously close.
Notably, CNEOS classified 2019 OU1 as an Apollo asteroid and like others from this group, fly around the Sun and Earth, occasionally intersecting with the orbit of the planet. The US space agency believes that the chance of asteroid 2019 OU1 hitting Earth is nil.
On the other hand, NASA has classified the space rock as a potentially hazardous asteroid. According to the US space agency, 2019 OU1 has the potential to make threatening close approaches to the Earth.
According to a report published by spacetelescope.org, there are more than 7 lakh asteroids that have been found in space. Asteroids are mainly found in an area called the â€˜main beltâ€™, between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.