Get Out Your Telescope on March 5th; This Asteroid Will Pass Very Close to Earth
On March 5, 2016, Asteroid 2013 TX68 will swing by the Earth in the course of its trajectory. If you’ve got a telescope, then in all likelihood, you’ll be able to spot this moving through the sky on that date.
NASA‘s still calculating several possible trajectories for the asteroid, so it’s not yet clear how close this space-rock will get. It could get as close as 11,000 miles away, but that’s the closest it’s expected to get. It might also be as far away as 9,000,000 miles, in which case it wouldn’t be visible — even from a telescope.
Is there a snowball’s chance that this asteroid will hit the Earth? Not this time around, no. But this is the second time we’ve seen the asteroid; in 2013, its trajectory was further away, and this time it’ll be a bit closer. When the asteroid swings back around for a third time in 2017, there is a remote possibility that it will hit the Earth. The odds of that are 1-in-250-million. (Better odds than you winning the most recent Powerball.)
Don’t lose any sleep over that, though. Paul Chodas, manager of CNEOS, insists: “The possibilities of collision on any of the three future flyby dates are far too small to be of any real concern. I fully expect any future observations to reduce the probability even more.” (I bet this guy doesn’t ever purchase Powerball tickets.)
Anyway, mark your calendars for March 5th, star-gazers!
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