An asteroid will “graze” Earth this Thursday: Five things to know about 2015 RN35

The asteroid must pass less than 700,000 km from Earth – illustration. (© Matthew / Adobe Stock)

2015 RN35 is its moniker. In short, it’s a big pebble, and it will pass relatively close to our blue planet.

Space event requires, many questions arise.

What do we know about the 2015 RN35?

With a diameter of between 60 and 140 meters, the height of the Cheops pyramid, it “most likely comes from the asteroid belt”, estimates Gilles Dawidovic, Vice-President of the Astronomical Society of France and Chairman of the Planetary Committee, contact by

The latter, which contains thousands of such pebbles, is located between Mars and Jupiter, but much closer to the Red Planet.

“We discovered this asteroid, of the Apollo family, in 2015 and, a priori, it has never passed close to the Earth,” notes the Vice-President of the Astronomical Society of France.

Moreover, the 2015 RN35 is what is called a “near-earth cruiser”. It is an asteroid, but its orbit has been moved to cross the orbit of the blue planet.

The diameter of the asteroid is between 60 and 140 meters.
The diameter of the asteroid is between 60 and 140 meters. (© ESA)

How far will you go?

It is moving at a speed of 6 km / s, and it will pass on Thursday, December 15, 2022, at a distance of about 679,800 km from us. This is twice the distance between Earth and the Moon.

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It seems huge on our scale, but very, very small on the astral plane. “At this scale, we can consider it very close to us,” Gil Dawidowicz notes.

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As a reminder, Earth is far from Mars by an average of 78 million km.

Does an asteroid pass us often?

Yes, of course. In 2022 alone, we counted 120 of them, of all sizes, that have crossed the Earth in one form or another. “Most of them are between 2 and 10 meters in diameter,” specifies the vice president of Saf. It has a diameter of 60 to 140 meters, and this one that will pass on Thursday, December 15, 2022, will be the largest of the year.

Moreover, another 2010 XC15It should pass near us on December 27, according to the European Space Agency (ESA).

Is there a risk?

Obviously not. Indeed because NASA’s calculations are very clear: they indicate that in the next 100 years, nothing can make it head toward Earth.

And then, because “unlike a volcanic eruption, earthquake, or tsunami, asteroids are natural disasters that we can prevail over,” Gil Dawidowicz recalls.

Remember, a few months ago, NASA launched the mission Arrowspecifically to see if we are able to defend ourselves against such an event. A space capsule has been sent to deflect Dimorphos, an asteroid 160 meters in diameter. And it was Success.

Dimorphos has changed its orbit. Proof that we’ll know how to get out of a situation like this without blowing everything up – which would be a huge disaster – as in disaster.

Can we see it?

Unfortunately, the 2015 RN35 isn’t bright enough to see with the naked eye. On the other hand, as long as your telescope is at least 30cm in diameter, it will be possible.

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The frame should be pointed south-southwest, exactly 74 degrees above the horizon, around 9 a.m. on Thursday, December 15, 2022. ESA He invites you to send him the collected photos.

And it is now or never, because the next time it will return “close” to Earth, it will be December 19, 2056, and it will be, this time, 3 million kilometers “before it sinks toward Earth.” ‘, Gil Dawidovic predicts. Good watch!

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