Asteroid to pass close to Earth tomorrow – How to see it

A massive asteroid will fly past our planet this weekend, and you might be able to see it.

The asteroid, named 2024 MK, will zoom closer to us than the moon orbits Earth on Saturday morning and is about the same size as the Washington Monument at between 394 and 853 meters in diameter.

It will be traveling extremely fast at a speed of 9.37 km/s, or about 20,960 miles per hour, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), but you may be in able to distinguish it from Earth using a telescope or binoculars.

How to watch 2024 MK

Hopeful viewers will have the best chance to see the asteroid this evening, using a backyard telescope or powerful binoculars. Clear skies are required to spy the asteroid, and being away from nighttime pollution will give viewers the best view of the asteroid. Sky Live is tracking the asteroid, so you can use its website to figure out which area of ​​the sky to look up at. As of Friday, it is in the constellation of Centaurus.

However, the asteroid will be moving very quickly as it passes us, so it may be difficult to catch. Additionally, it passes its closest point to Earth at 9:46 a.m. ET, meaning it will be farther away and therefore dimmer during the darkest hours of the night. In the United States, those in the southwest will have the best chance of seeing the asteroid, with Hawaii’s Mauna Kea volcano the prime spot to see it as it will pass just before sunrise. New York Times reported.

If you don’t live in an ideal location to view 2024 MK or don’t have a telescope or binoculars, then the Virtual Telescope Project will live stream the asteroid’s passage across our skies.

asteroid in the sky
Image of an asteroid passing Earth. Stargazers may be able to catch a glimpse of a large asteroid, 2024 MK, passing closer to Earth than the Moon on Saturday.


What is MK 2024?

Despite its size, 2024 MK was only discovered on June 16 and is classified as a Near Earth Object, or NEO, and a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA).

NEOs are defined as asteroids that come within 1.3 astronomical units of the sun (one astronomical unit is about 93 million miles, or the distance between the sun and Earth). A PHA is an asteroid that passes within 4.6 million miles of Earth and has a diameter of at least 460 meters wide. PHAs are also defined as bright enough on the sky to have a magnitude of 22.0 or less.

2024 MK will pass us at a distance of 181,300 miles, much closer than the moon’s 238,900-mile orbit.

The chances of this asteroid hitting the Earth are infinitesimally small. However, if an asteroid of this size were to collide with Earth, it could be catastrophic.

“A 100-200 meter asteroid [330-650 feet] in diameter would cause a regional catastrophe, knocking out a small country, but with global consequences in terms of the global economy and globalization,” Jay Tate, director of the UK Space Watch Centre’s Observatory, said earlier. Newsweek.

2024 MK is about twice the size of the Tunguska impact asteroid, which exploded over Siberia in 1908 and flattened 800 square miles of forest.

“Damage and effects will decrease with distance from the impact,” said Gretchen Benedix, an astrogeologist at Australia’s Curtin University. Newsweek via e-mail. “Within 100 km of impact (on the rock), there will be radiation effects from almost zero to radiation burns; a series of seismic effects; air blast effects ranging from breaking glass windows to collapsing buildings; clouds of gas and dust released into the atmosphere. “

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