1. Why NASA scientists are waiting for large near-Earth asteroid Florence to pass by our planet

Why NASA scientists are waiting for large near-Earth asteroid Florence to pass by our planet

A series of celestial activities are taking place out in space. The one creating waves is the solar eclipse, of course.

By: | Updated: August 21, 2017 4:22 PM
near-Earth asteroid, Florence, Florence to pass by India, NASA, NEOWISE, Asteroid Florence, Paul Chodas, NASA on Florence, asterild, Florence Nightingale, Space agency The encounter will give scientists a fair change to closely analyse the asteroid and gather more details about it. (Image: IE)

A series of celestial activities are taking place out in space. The one creating waves is the solar eclipse, of course. But then there is also another one that is vying for attention and this one has to do with , a large near-Earth asteroid called Florence, which is all set to safely pass by Earth at a distance of about 4.4 million miles (7 million kilometers) on September 1. The asteroid is close enough to earth to create anxiety. According to reports, asteroid Florance is one of the largest near-Earth asteroids that is several miles in size and has come this close for the first time since the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) set up its detection and tracking programme.

According to an official NASA release, the measurements from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and Near-Earth Object Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) mission indicate that Asteroid Florence is about 4.4 kilometers in size.

Speaking about the same, Paul Chodas, manager of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) said, “While many known asteroids have passed by closer to Earth than Florence will on September 1, all of those were estimated to be smaller.”

“Florence is the largest asteroid to pass by our planet this close since the NASA program to detect and track near-Earth asteroids began,” Chodas added.

According to various reports, the encounter will give scientists a fair change to closely analyse the asteroid and gather more details about it. As per the international space agency, Florence is expected to be an excellent target for ground-based radar observations. The bypassing will also help in getting the real size of the asteroid and could also provide details about its surface which is as small as about 10 meters.

NASA had also stated that the asteriod last appeared this close to earth in 1890 and would not come this close again before 2500. Florence will also be visible from small telescopes between August end to early September when it will start to brighten. It is also being said that Florence will move through constellations including Piscis Austrinus, Capricornus, Aquarius, and Delphinus.

According to Indian Express, the asteroid was discovered by Schelte Bus, in 1981 at Siding Spring Observatory in Australia. It has been named in the honour of Florence Nightingale, who was the founder of modern nursing.

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