NASA Learns More About Interstellar Visitor ‘Oumuamua In November 2017, scientists pointed NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope toward the object known as ‘Oumuamua – the first known interstellar object to visit our solar system. The infrared Spitzer was one of many telescopes pointed at ‘Oumuamua in the weeks after its discovery that October. NASA CNEOS Go to SourceRead More →

NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies Enters Third Decade. On March 11, 1998, asteroid astronomers around the world received an ominous message: new observational data on the recently discovered asteroid 1997 XF11 suggested there was a chance that the half-mile-wide (nearly one kilometer) object could hit Earth in 2028. Powered by WPeMaticoRead More →

Using observations from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and ground-based observatories, an international team of scientists has confirmed ‘Oumuamua (oh-MOO-ah-MOO-ah), the first known interstellar object to travel through our solar system, got an unexpected boost in speed and shift in trajectory as it passed through the inner solar system last year. Powered by WPeMaticoRead More →

A new multiagency report outlines how the U.S. could become better prepared for near-Earth objects — asteroids and comets whose orbits come within 30 million miles of Earth — otherwise known as NEOs. While no known NEOs currently pose significant risks of impact, the report is a key step to addressing a nationwide response to any future risks. Powered by WPeMaticoRead More →

A boulder-sized asteroid designated 2018 LA was discovered Saturday morning, June 2, and was determined to be on a collision course with Earth, with impact just hours away. Because it was very faint, the asteroid was estimated to be only about 6 feet (2 meters) across, which is small enough that it was expected to safely disintegrate in Earth’s atmosphere. Saturday’s asteroid was first discovered by the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey, located near Tucson and operated by the University of Arizona. Powered by WPeMaticoRead More →

Asteroid 2010 WC9 will make a close approach to Earth today (5/15/18) at 3:04 p.m. PDT (6:04 p.m. EDT, 22:04 UTC). At the time of closest approach, the asteroid will be no closer to Earth’s surface than about 120,000 miles (200,000 kilometers), which is about half the distance between Earth and the Moon. 2010 WC9 is about 200 to 400 feet (50 to 120 meters) across. The asteroid’s velocity at the time of closest approach will be about 29,000 mph (8 miles per second, 12.8 kilometers per second). This flyby is the closest approach 2010 WC9 will make to Earth for at least two centuries.Read More →

The house-sized asteroid entered the atmosphere over Chelyabinsk at over eleven miles per second and blew apart 14 miles above the ground. The explosion released the energy equivalent of around 440,000 tons of TNT and generated a shock wave that blew out windows over 200 square miles and damaged some buildings. Over 1,600 people were injured in the blast, mostly due to broken glass. “The Chelyabinsk event drew widespread attention to what more needs to be done to detect even larger asteroids before they strike our planet,” said NASA Planetary Defense Officer Lindley Johnson. “This was a cosmic wake-up call.” Powered by WPeMaticoRead More →

2002 AJ129 is an intermediate-sized near-Earth asteroid, somewhere between 0.3 miles (0.5 kilometers) and 0.75 miles (1.2 kilometers) across. It was discovered on Jan. 15, 2002, by the former NASA-sponsored Near Earth Asteroid Tracking project at the Maui Space Surveillance Site on Haleakala, Hawaii. The asteroid’s velocity at the time of closest approach, 76,000 mph (34 kilometers per second), is higher than the majority of near-Earth objects during an Earth flyby. The high flyby velocity is a result of the asteroid’s orbit, which approaches very close to the Sun — 11 million miles (18 million kilometers). Although asteroid 2002 AJ129 is categorized as a PotentiallyRead More →

Interstellar Asteroid FAQs Astronomers recently scrambled to observe an intriguing asteroid that zipped through the solar system on a steep trajectory from interstellar space-the first confirmed object from another star. New data reveal the interstellar interloper to be a rocky, cigar-shaped object with a somewhat reddish hue. The asteroid, named ‘Oumuamua by its discoverers, is up to one-quarter mile (400 meters) long and highly-elongated-perhaps 10 times as long as it is wide. That aspect ratio is greater than that of any asteroid or comet observed in our solar system to date. While its elongated shape is quite surprising, and unlike asteroids seen in our solarRead More →

On Oct. 12 EDT (Oct. 11 PDT), a small asteroid designated 2012 TC4 will safely pass by Earth at a distance of approximately 26,000 miles (42,000 kilometers). This is a little over one tenth the distance to the Moon and just above the orbital altitude of communications satellites. This encounter with TC4 is being used by asteroid trackers around the world to test their ability to operate as a coordinated international asteroid warning network. Powered by WPeMaticoRead More →

One of the largest near-Earth asteroids, 3122 Florence, passed by our planet on September 1, 2017 at about 18 times the distance to the Moon. A concerted observational campaign has led to many new insights, including the discovery of two moons orbiting Florence and new information on the physical properties of Florence itself. Powered by WPeMaticoRead More →

Radar images of asteroid 3122 Florence obtained at the 70-meter antenna at NASA’s Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex between August 29 and September 1 have revealed that the asteroid has two small moons, and also confirmed that main asteroid Florence is about 4.5 km (2.8 miles) in size. Florence is only the third triple asteroid known in the near-Earth population out of more than 16,400 that have been discovered to date. All three near-Earth asteroid triples have been discovered with radar observations and Florence is the first seen since two moons were discovered around asteroid 1994 CC in June 2009. Powered by WPeMaticoRead More →

An asteroid named Florence, one of the largest of the near-Earth asteroids, will approach close to Earth at the end of August, and will fly safely past our planet on September 1. At its closest point, Florence will be 4.4 million miles (7.0 million kilometers) from Earth, or about 18 times the average Earth-Moon distance. Although many known asteroids have passed by closer than this, all of them were smaller asteroids. Florence is the largest asteroid to pass this close to our planet since the first near-Earth asteroid was discovered over a century ago. Powered by WPeMaticoRead More →

Asteroid Florence, a large near-Earth asteroid, will pass safely by Earth on Sept. 1, 2017, at a distance of about 4.4 million miles, (7.0 million kilometers, or about 18 Earth-Moon distances). Florence is among the largest near-Earth asteroids that are several miles in size; measurements from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and NEOWISE mission indicate it’s about 2.7 miles (4.4 kilometers) in size. Powered by WPeMaticoRead More →