A massive asteroid '2001 FO32' will zoom safely past Earth on March 21: NASA

A massive asteroid '2001 FO32' will zoom safely past Earth on March 21: NASA

It is estimated that 2001 FO32 is between 440 and 680 meters (1,300 to 2,230 feet).

Asteroid 2001 FO32 is one large space rock. It was discovered 20 years ago and it occasionally comes close to our planet. On Sunday, March 21, this is happening again, with the asteroid passing by Earth at the extremely safe distance of 2 million kilometers (1.25 million miles) from Earth. This will be the largest asteroid flyby of 2021.

It is estimated that 2001 FO32 is between 440 and 680 meters (1,300 to 2,230 feet). This flyby is the closest one this object will have with our planet, so scientists are planning to learn about this rock when it's nice and close to us.

A massive asteroid '2001 FO32' will zoom safely past Earth on March 21: NASA
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“We know the orbital path of 2001 FO32 around the Sun very accurately since it was discovered 20 years ago and has been tracked ever since,” Paul Chodas, director of the Center for Near Earth Object Studies, said in a statement. “There is no chance the asteroid will get any closer to Earth than 1.25 million miles.”
A massive asteroid '2001 FO32' will zoom safely past Earth on March 21: NASA
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According to the researchers, the asteroid is approaching unusually quickly. Its steeply inclined and elongated (or eccentric) orbit around the sun, an orbit that is 39 degrees to the orbit of the earth, is the reason for this.

The asteroid is too faint to be visible with your eyes alone, but if you have a small telescope you might be able to catch it, especially if you’re in the Southern hemisphere. 2001 FO32 next close passage will be in 2052 where it will be slightly further away than this time around.
A massive asteroid '2001 FO32' will zoom safely past Earth on March 21: NASA
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When is Asteroid 2001 FO32 closest to Earth?

The asteroid FO32 was first discovered in 2001 in March 2001 by the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) and based on optical measurements it was estimated to be one kilometer long. According to later measurements, the gem could be a bit smaller, admits NASA. Nonetheless, according to the US agency, F032 is still the largest asteroid to whisk past this close to our planet in 2021. The 1998 OR2 on April 29, 2020 caused a stir. The asteroid was larger, but FO32 will be three times closer to Earth.

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