Giant asteroid with force of 3 billion nuclear bombs heading towards Earth, claims Chinese astronomer

By @vitthernandez on
Images of 2009ES were captured by the 1.2-metre Schmidt telescope camera last week. YouTube

Just less than two weeks after the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) warned that Earth is vulnerable to a major asteroid hit, a Chinese astronomer warned of a massive killer asteroid which has the destructive force of 3 billion nuclear bombs.

The asteroid, 2009ES, is as big as 10 miles wide across, but astronomers admittedly have not pinpointed its exact trajectory through the Solar System and they cannot estimate when would the asteroid hits the planet. It was discovered by Zhao Haibin, an astronomer with the Purple Mountain Observatory in Nanjing, China, reports Daily Star.

Images of 2009ES were captured by the 1.2-metre Schmidt telescope camera last week. Using those images, other astronomers could have a more accurate moving trajectory of the asteroid, says Zhao. Based on its current path, the Chinese Academy of Science estimated it would pass within 18.8 lunar distances, or the distance for the Earth’s centre to Moon’s centre.

The asteroid is one of 1,640 near-Earth asteroids moving toward Earth. To track these asteroids, NASA created Scout, a new computer system which allows detection of potentially dangerous asteroids and calculate their possible impact on Earth’s surface. For precise orbital measurement, multiple observations of asteroids is required, reports Sputnik News.

For now, astronomers post information on interesting space objects at the website of the Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Because of obstacles that impede accuracy, astronomers are required to check the portal regularly. Scout also automatically scours the website and calculates every 10 minutes the potential paths of newly posted objects. If an asteroid poses a threat to Earth, Scout would inform astronomers by email or text.

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Source: TomoNews US