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NASA spot mammoth asteroid to hit Earth’s orbit five days before X-mas

Asteroid Alert: NASA spots a huge asteroid hurtling towards the Earth and will hit Earth's orbit soon

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A huge asteroid was spotted by NASA that is hurtling towards earth at a speed of 26,843 miles per hour. The mammoth asteroid is known as 216258 2006 WH1, 450 metres wide. It is due for its dangerously close approach to our home planet by December 20 that is five days before Christmas. If it hits the earth the rock that is the size same size as the World Trade Centre would cause a significant amount of damage and mass extinction.

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The asteroid’s course could be influenced by a natural phenomenon known as the Yarkovsky effect(The Yarkovsky effect is a force acting on a rotating body in space caused by the anisotropic emission of thermal photons, which carry momentum). The effect occurs when the gentle force of sunlight edges an asteroid either way of its natural course. Scientists have been using the Yarkovsky effect, to estimate the most accurate determination of an asteroid’s orbit to date.

Asteroids larger than approximately 35 metres across pose a threat to a town or city, this meaning that 216258 2006 WH1’s 540-metre diameter would likely cause havoc across the globe. The asteroid hasn’t yet been measured on the Torino Impact Hazard Scale, but will likely be listed as a serious threat when and if it is added.

A version of the Torino Scale was presented to the United Nations in 1995. A ten on the scale means a collision is certain, capable of causing a global climatic catastrophe. A one on the scale corresponds to a routine or normal discovery.

Organisations like NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) keep a watchful eye on NEOs passing close to Earth. NEOs are all comets and asteroids whose orbits approach Earth’s path around the Sun. A NEO includes an asteroid, meteoroid or comet orbiting the Sun within 18,600,000 miles, 30 million km, of Earth’s orbit.

Also Read: This Burj Khalifa-sized Asteroid zipped past Earth; Deets Inside

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