Asteroid close approach: Watch LIVE as space rock passes Earth | Science | News

The space rock 2020 SW is set for an “extremely close encounter” with Earth, and you can watch the event fold out. The Virtual Telescope Project will be hosting a live broadcast of the event for free when the space rock swings by Earth on September 23.

The asteroid is relatively small, being a maximum of just 9.7 metres according to NASA observations, but will come very close to our planet, in astronomical terms at least.

Astronomers state it will swing by at a distance of 27,000 kilometres from Earth, which is just seven percent the distance between our planet and the Moon.

The Virtual Telescope Project said: “On 24 Sept. 2020, the near-Earth Asteroid 2020 SW will have an extremely close, but safe, encounter with us, coming at about 27000 km from the Earth, 7 percent of the average lunar distance.

“The Virtual Telescope Project will show it to you live!”

The online observatory will be kicking things off on its website (https://www.virtualtelescope.eu/) at 23.00 BST, as well as a live stream on its YouTube channel.

The company continued: “The near-Earth asteroid 2020 SW, discovered by the Mt. Lemmon survey on 18 Sept. 2020 and announced the following day by the Minor Planet Center, has an estimated diameter in the range 4.3 – 9.7 meters (source: Nasa/JPL).

“The Virtual Telescope Project will show it live, thanks to its advanced technologies, bringing it to you via the Internet. This way, you can join the journey from the comfort of your home.”

With 2020 SW coming so close to our planet, NASA has designated it a near Earth object (NEO).

NEOs allow astronomers to unravel the history of the universe.

NASA has said: “NEOs are comets and asteroids that have been nudged by the gravitational attraction of nearby planets into orbits that allow them to enter the Earth’s neighbourhood.

“The scientific interest in comets and asteroids is due largely to their status as the relatively unchanged remnant debris from the solar system formation process some 4.6 billion years ago.

“The giant outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune) formed from an agglomeration of billions of comets and the left over bits and pieces from this formation process are the comets we see today.

“Likewise, today’s asteroids are the bits and pieces left over from the initial agglomeration of the inner planets that include Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars.”

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