The gigantic asteroid 3200 Phaethon, titled after a Greek demi-god, will touch past earth before Christmas, NASA has confirmed. The giant asteroid, which is 5 km wide, is classified as “potentially dangerous asteroid.” Investigators consequently dropped their forecast about the likelihood of it hitting in 2036 and discovered that there’s a three-in-a-million chance of the result in 2068.This is the closest 3200 Phaethon has been to the planet since 1974 when it was five million miles away.
The asteroid is categorized as a potentially hazardous asteroid by NASA due to how close it comes to Earth; 6.2 million miles away from Earth is only two million miles away from Earth’s orbit. The three-mile wide 3200 Phaethon’s closest approach to Earth will take place on December 16. EST. After all, 6.2 million miles isn’t a lot in space terms.
It will be the closest this asteroid has been to Earth since December 16, 1974, when it was just over 5 million miles away, according to NASA. A vast and mysterious space rock will fly by Earth tonight but have no fear, NASA says 3200 Phaethon isn’t any danger to our planet.
A massive asteroid that has zoomed past Earth more than 20 times in about the last 30 years is heading in for another near-miss with Earth tomorrow, but don’t lose too much sleep over it, even though it’s one of the asteroids NASA has classified as “potentially hazardous“. However, space enthusiasts with a telescope will be able to catch it.
“This “potential” to make close Earth approaches does not mean a PHA will impact the Earth”.
“The 2017 apparition is the nearest to Earth since the asteroid’s discovery, so it may be probable for optical observers to identify new activity”, NASA said. The asteroid will be visible for weeks, according to ABC News, but the best time to watch it is 6 PM ET on December 16. If humanity is wiped out at some point in the future, an asteroid strike certainly would be high on the list of likely causes. Thankfully, that’s not going to happen. “They think this asteroid and its orbit is very well known will never get closer than about 1.8 million miles of the Earth”. Usually, meteor showers are the result of icy debris on comets vaporising when they come close to the sun or when they burn up in the earth’s atmosphere.
‘If so, the asteroid itself could be the residue of a comet nucleus. If you caught the Geminid meteor shower earlier this week, stay tuned for another celestial phenomenon on Saturday night: 3200 Phaethon.