Asteroid (File Photo)
Supermassive asteroid identified as 2169 Taiwan, a carbonaceous space rock, came very close to the Earth on Thursday at around 11 pm. Fortunately, the giant asteroid failed to hit the Earth and we are safe. 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. 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 2169 Taiwan, the space rock was discovered in 1964 by astronomers at the Purple Mountain Observatory near Nanjing, China, was 270 million kilometres away from Earth during its closest approach. According to the Taipei Astronomical Museum, 2169 Taiwan has a diameter of 14 km-19 km and rotation period of 7.252 hours, orbiting the Sun at a distance of 400 million km once every 4.66 years.
It is worth mentioning here that asteroid 2169 Taiwan was registered at the Minor Planet Center (MPC), which is responsible for the designation of minor bodies in the solar system, such as minor planets, comets and natural satellites.
Although the asteroid posts an apparent magnitude of 16.2, meaning it is 12,000 times darker than the darkest celestial body visible to the naked eye, the museum for the first time tracked it through a remote-controlled telescope at the Siding Spring Observatory in Australia. The next time asteroid 2169 Taiwan comes close to Earth will be in about one year's time, the museum said.
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 ‘main belt’, between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.