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Large asteroid will fly 7.4 million km from Earth

US, WASHINGTON (NEWS OBSERVATORY) — The asteroid 1998 OR2 will fly past Earth at a distance of about 6 million km on April 29. This distance is almost 16 times greater than the distance between our planet and the moon. About it writes the portal Сnet.com.

The diameter of the celestial body is about 4.1 km. It will become the largest of all asteroids that fly near the Earth in 2020.

Despite the fact that, according to NASA standards, 7.4 million km is considered a safe distance, the distance over which the 1998 OR2 29 will fly can be considered quite safe, the portal writes.

“With telescopes, he will be seen as a star slowly floating across the horizon,” said astronomer Eddie Irizarry to the portal. “Observers will be able to spot it with 6-inch or 8-inch telescopes.”

For those who do not have telescopes, the Virtual Telescope Project has been organizing a live broadcast of observations of this celestial body on the Internet since April 28. The next opportunity to observe the asteroid from close range will appear only in 2079.

Until now, astronomers have discovered in the near-Earth space, that is, within 7 million km, about 8 thousand asteroids larger than 140 m. According to NASA planetologist Lindley Johnson, the number of unknown asteroids in the near-Earth space with a diameter of 10 to 20 m can reach several million.

In October 2021, NASA plans to launch the Lucy automated station, which will study the seven asteroids in the solar system. In April 2025, it should approach the small asteroid 52246 Donaldjohanson in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Then, in the years 2027–2028, Lucy will fly around the asteroids Euribat, Polymela, Levk and Ohr.

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