Asteroid 2019 MT2 (Representationa image, Photo Credit: Twitter)
So far we have been very fortunate as several deadly asteroids did not collide with the Earth and just went past through our planet. Our fortune can be turned into misfortune anytime. Well, there’s another asteroid which is approaching towards Earth today. Yes, you read it right. NASA’s Centre for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) has detected a massive asteroid that’s expected to pass dangerously close to Earth on Monday.
Notably, the asteroids that approach towards the Earth at a very close distance pose a threat to us due to the gravitational forces that affect them.
Asteroid 2019 MT2 has a maximum diameter of almost 102 feet and it is currently traveling at a speed of 11.04 kilometres per second or about 25,000 miles per hour. NASA says 2019 MT2 is expected to zip past Earth on July 8 at 1:15 pm ST.
During its approach, its closest distance to Earth will be about 0.01118 astronomical units or roughly 1.6 million kilometres from the planet’s centre. Importantly, this is equivalent to about three times the distance between the Earth and the Moon.
According to the NASA, this near-Earth Object was first observed on June 30. Its upcoming approach is currently the only recorded instance of the asteroid’s fly by with Earth. Well, the researchers are trying to gather more data on the asteroid in order to plot its past and future courses.
For now, Earth is safe from 2019 MT2, but there’s a chance of this asteroid hitting the planet in the near-future. Previously, as the studies have shown that there are certain areas in space known as keyholes. These are areas that are affected by the gravitational pull of nearby planets. If an object passes through a keyhole, it will get affected by the gravitational forces in the area, causing it to change its path into a possible direct collision course.
In the case of 2019 MT2, since it is expected to pass near Earth and the Moon, the gravitational pull from these two cosmic bodies could significantly affect the asteroid’s orbit. This means the asteroid 2019 MT2 has a chance of hitting the Earth during its future visit.