Asteroid will pass Earth on 29 April

A huge asteroid – (52768) 1998 OR2 – will pass closest to Earth on April 29

Have you heard the buzz about a big – very big – asteroid that’ll pass relatively close to Earth in April? Asteroid (52768) 1998 OR2 will pass at a safe distance, at some 4 million miles (6 million km), or about 16 times the Earth-moon distance. It’s big – the biggest asteroid due to fly by Earth this year – and will come closest to Earth on April 29, 2020. Astronomers at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico plan to study it from April 8 to 24, as it travels through space at 19,461 miles per hour (31,320 km/h).
The high-resolution radar images that will be obtained from Arecibo should provide scientists a better estimate of the space rock’s size and shape. According to current estimates, this space rock is probably at least a mile wide (1.8 km) and maybe 2 1/2 times that long (4.1 km).
Closest approach will be April 29 around 5:56 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (09:56 UTC; translate UTC to your time). Professional observatories have been pointing their telescopes at the huge space rock already. Amateur astronomers with smaller telescopes will also have an opportunity to see it as a slow-moving “star.” If that’s you, we give charts and tips for observers at the bottom of this post that should help.

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