A giant asteroid, 2008 GO20 flew past earth on June 20, 2008. The asteroid is expected to fly past Earth once again on July 25, 2034. Here’s everything you need to know about the asteroid heading towards us.
What is this giant asteroid?
2008 GO20, a large asteroid is expected to pass by earth on July 25. This near-earth asteroid is estimated to be larger than a football field. The asteroid is twice the size of Big Ben. As per NASA’s reports, 2008 GO20 will whiz past the planet at a speed of 8.2 kmph. The asteroid will zoom past about three to four million kilometers from Earth, making it about eight to 9 times more than the distance between the Moon and the Earth.
What are near-earth objects? Is this one dangerous?
Near-earth objects or NEOs are asteroids and comets which come close to Earth. Most of the NEOs are Near-Earth Asteroids (NEAs). NEAs are not a rare event. This year alone over 6 NEAs have flown past Earth. However, based on their axes and distance, they are divided into Atria, Amor, Apollo, and Aten. 2008 GO20 is an Apollo NEO. It is because it has an orbit near Earth and is an Earth-crossing NEO. Apollo NEO was named after the 1862 Apollo asteroid.
Additionally, NEOs flying below 0.05 astronomical units are called Potentially hazardous asteroids (PHA). One astronomical unit (au) is equal to 150 million kilometers or close to the distance between the earth and the sun. Since this giant asteroid will fly by earth at 0.02 – 0.03 au away from Earth, it is a PHA.