Science

Skull-shaped Halloween Asteroid to Visit Earth Again Next Year

Skull-shaped Halloween Asteroid to Visit Earth Again Next Year”

A skull-shaped asteroid that whizzed past Earth around the night of Halloween 2015 will fly by our planet again, this time in November 2018.

The reports from study and observations made in 2015 was compiled and published in a journal Astronomy and Astrophysics, in February 2017. This mysterious asteroid measures between 625 and 700 meters that crosses space, using the Pan-STARRS telescope.

"It is an Apollo-type near-Earth asteroid (NEA)", Santos-Sanz told SINC.

This next flyby won't be almost as dramatic as the last one; the asteroid will zoom past at about 105 Earth-moon distances.

From the observations from the mid-infrared from the VLT, authors of the study managed to find the thermal emission of the object. With the use of this information and thermo-physical model, there could be many characteristics of the asteroid yet to be discovered. The object, according to a report in Phys.org, is now 3.7AU away and will zip past Earth sometime in November 2018. "This means that it is very dark, only slightly more reflective than charcoal", the Spanish astrophysicist explains.

"Although this approach shall not be so favorable, we will be able to obtain new data which could help improve our knowledge of this mass and other similar masses that come close to our planet", Santos-Sanz said in the statement. That's just a little bit farther away from Earth than the distance at which the moon orbits us.

While NASA keeps us updated about the asteroids they are now probing and space rocks that may go buzzing past Earth, not many can forget the ominous-looking very big space rock that's shaped like a skull and known as the "Halloween Death Asteroid". The encounter on Halloween's day 2015 was the closest approach of an object of that size since 2006, and the next known similar event is the passage of 137108 (1999 AN10) on August 7, 2027. "Later, 99942 Apophis will follow on April 13, 2029 with an Earth passage at approximately 0.1 lunar distances". The researchers said that the asteroid might be an extinct comet. Although asteroids have a metallic rocky composition and comets have a more significant proportion of ice and rock, it is sometimes hard to identify them with certainty.

Astronomers will soon get another look at the big, ghoulishly weird space rock that buzzed Earth on Halloween three years ago.



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