A potentially dangerous asteroid is approaching Earth

(ORDO NEWS) — Astronomers report that in the next two days, the potentially dangerous asteroid 2020 WU5 will fly by about eight million kilometers from Earth. The trajectory of its orbit is given on the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory website.

Asteroid 2020 WU5 was discovered on November 29, 2020 in images obtained by the NEOWISE (Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer) space telescope, and on December 4, it was included in the International Astronomical Union (IAU) Electronic Minor Planet Circular.

The asteroid belongs to the group of “Apollo” – near-earth objects, the orbits of which cross the earth from the outside. According to scientists, its diameter ranges from 0.5 to 1.1 kilometers.

2020 WU5 moves across the sky with the constellations Poppa, Unicorn, Canis Minor, Gemini and Charioteer in the background. The closest approach to the Earth is expected on the night of January 13-14. According to the calculated data, its brightness will be 12.9 magnitude, and its angular velocity – 33.4 arc seconds per minute. At this time, the asteroid will move against the background of Gemini towards the constellation Auriga.

In the middle latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, there will be good conditions for observing it. It will be possible to see the asteroid through telescopes with a lens diameter of 200 mm or more.

Despite the fact that the asteroid will pass far enough from the Earth – according to various estimates, from 8.1 to 7.5 million kilometers – it is classified as potentially dangerous.


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