Asteroid 2019 NJ2 (Representational Image)
Is it the day? Is this the beginning of the end? Is the world going to end anytime soon? Though there is no scientific confirmation on the end of civilization till the time, the latest media reports, which are doing rounds all over, could be a reason of real worry. Yes! As per the latest reports, a supermassive asteroid named 2019 NJ2, is gradually moving towards the Earth and will reach its closest distance around 1:30 am today, i.e. Saturday, July 20, 2019.
The giant space rock is reportedly traveling at a speed of 30,000 miles per hour and is expected to be about 0.03421 astronomical units or roughly 3.1 million miles away from the planet’s centre during its approach.
According to the NASA’s CNEOS, asteroid 2019 NJ2 was first observed on June 29 this year while its closest approach was in the year 1952 when the space rock flew near Venus. It is further predicted to return to Earth’s neighbourhood again on July 7, 2119 when it will be about 0.25594 astronomical units or around 23.8 million miles away from the planet.
Earth has been possessing major asteroid threats since the time of dinosaurs, but the current year proves to be the most dangerous one with three more asteroids moving dangerously close to the earth. Those giant rocks include - 2019 NN3, 2019 MB4 and 2019 MT2.
Some other asteroids that have moved past the Earth in recent times are - 2006 QV89, 2016 NO56M and RF12 as well. The Earth's gravity pulls asteroids very close to it but we have been lucky enough to have survived the wrath of mass destruction.
In December 2018, a large meteorite exploded over the Bering Sea, releasing 173 kilotons of energy, 10 times more than the Hiroshima atomic bomb blast. However, this explosion went unnoticed as it happened in a less crowded and remote area of the planet.