Get your telescopes ready on March 5 as asteroid 2013 TX68 might pass so close to us that we could see it!
Our universe is buzzing with activities beyond our sight and knowledge. What we do grasp with our senses is but a drop in the ocean, or even less than that. However, we are sometimes destined to get a glimpse of what lies above us. The inhabitants of the Earth might be graced with the sight of a 30-metre wide asteroid named 2013 TX68 in the near future.
According to a NASA announcement, we might be able to see that asteroid which is expected to pass near our planet on March 5. It might be close enough for us to spot it. And, worry not, according to the scientists, its proximity will not be a danger to us.
While its exact path has not yet been drawn, it will be around 18,000 km away from us at its closest, as per the estimates of researchers. The figure is the equivalent of 1/20th the distance between the moon and us. Asteroid 2013 TX68 will only be visible via telescope.
However, it is also possible that it passes at a point extremely far away: 14 million km away.
Why the great difference between the two estimates? It so happens that NASA researchers only discovered it 3 years ago, and they have not, therefore, had enough time to study it. Furthermore, 2013 TX68 shifted from the night-time sky of the Earth to the day-time one, making it almost impossible to monitor its trajectory. The scientists were only able to generate a rough map of its possible paths. Its orbit will be hard to determine, says Paul Chodas from NASA’s Centre for Near Earth Object Studies.
But, still, if there is the possibility of it coming so close to us, can it collide with us eventually? The probability that this happens is very small: less than 1-in-250 million chance. Moreover, Chodas argues that further observations will decrease the probability further.