A 30 Metre Long Asteroid Will Flyby Earth In A Few Days!


Just a few days from now the asteroid, 2013 TX68, approximately 100 feet (30 metre) in length is going to zip really close to Earth. The flyby is expected to be someday between 5th and 8th March. But don’t just start packing your bags yet because as we’ve already reported the intimidating asteroid has almost no chance (and hopefully no intentions) of hitting our “beautiful planet”.

"There is no concern whatsoever regarding this asteroid - unless you were interested in seeing it with a telescope," says Paul Chodas, manager of NASA's Centre for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS). "Prospects for observing this asteroid, which were not very good to begin with, are now even worse, because the asteroid is likely to be farther away and therefore dimmer than previously believed."


The odds are in our favor people!

Here’s something for the skeptics, who are probably building their ‘asteroid proof’ bunkers right now. The previous estimates of the farthest distance the flyby could be was around 9 million miles (which NASA said was a rough estimate) and the closest was around 11,000 miles away from Earth. But they have changed these numbers and are now saying that the farthest distance will be around 3 million miles and there is a chance the asteroid will get closer to the Earth at around 15,000 miles.


The previous estiamtes

ateroid TX68

Latest NASA reports on 2013 TX68's orbit

It’s really weird, these estimates, because there’s a huge difference between the two. Makes you wonder if the claims of zero chance of hitting the Earth don’t have another condition of some chance of an actual collision. So why has been mapping out the orbit of this asteroid so difficult? Because as we reported before the asteroid isn’t in a really easily monitored place and it was only seen in 2013 the last time. The estimates given above are just educated guesses which may or may not be true. It’s an achievement in itself that the 2013 TX68 was spotted about three years ago!

Astronomer Phil Plait explains over at Slate:

"Think of it this way. Imagine you’re an outfielder in a baseball game. You see the pitcher throw the ball, and the batter swings. It’s a hit! But one-tenth of a second after the batter makes contact, you close your eyes. Now, based on the fraction of a second you saw the ball move, can you catch it?
I would be willing to bet a lot of money you won’t. You weren’t able to watch the ball long enough to get a good fix on its direction, its speed, its position. It could land next to you, or it could fall 40 metres away, or it could be knocked right out of the park. The only way to catch it would be to keep your eyes on it, observe it as long as possible until you can be completely sure of where it’s headed."


We cannot be exactly sure of the distance the asteroid 2013 TX68 will pass near the Earth. But whatever may be the case, NASA says that their data clearly shows no danger of hitting the Earth.

"We already knew this asteroid, 2013 TX68, would safely fly past Earth in early March, but this additional data allow us to get a better handle on its orbital path," said Chodasin a NASA press release. "The data indicate that this small asteroid will probably pass much farther away from Earth than previously thought."

So we have no reason to panic for now, or do we? Please let us know how you’re feeling about this in the comments below.

Source 1 and 2