Asteroids keep passing by Earth, however, none has reportedly come this threateningly close our home planet.
An asteroid that is reportedly half the size of Mount Everest will fly by Earth next week. What is most interesting about this asteroid is that in the image that scientists have captured, it seems to be shaped like a mask! The asteroid is scared to cross paths with Earth and is practising social distancing the best way possible.
The Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico captured a radar image of asteroid 1998 OR2 that will pass within 3.9 million miles (6.3 million kilometres) of Earth on April 29. The team members all wear mask in the facility to contain the spread of coronavirus and have themselves likened their appearance to that of the object.
#TeamRadar and the @NAICobservatory staff are taking the proper safety measures as we continue observations. This week we have been observing near-Earth asteroid 1998 OR2, which looks like it’s wearing a mask! It’s at least 1.5 km across and is passing 16 lunar distances away! pic.twitter.com/X2mQJCT2Qg
— Arecibo Radar (@AreciboRadar) April 18, 2020
‘TeamRadar and the NAIC Observatory staff are taking the proper safety measures as we continue observations. This week we have been observing near-Earth asteroid 1998 OR2, which looks like it’s wearing a mask!’ one of their tweet reads.
Radar images obtained by the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico revealed that recently-discovered #asteroid 2020 BX12 is a binary asteroid with its own small moon! Several asteroids have moons, a few even have two. https://t.co/MSfWIlYFtL @NAICobservatory pic.twitter.com/6kpA1lkEQP
— NASA Asteroid Watch (@AsteroidWatch) February 13, 2020
NASA tweeted that the asteroid even has its own small moon! This particular asteroid was discovered by NASA in 1998. It is ‘large enough to cause global effects’ if it were to hit Earth but that is not likely.
Observatorio de Arecibo capta imágenes del asteroide que pasará a distancia segura el próximo 29 de abril y hablamos sobre la lluvia de meteoros las Líridas con su pico esta noche. Entrevista con @luisafzambrano científica planetaria de @NAICobservatory https://t.co/Hvv3Clfj21 pic.twitter.com/1PqskSYYnD
— Deborah Martorell (@DeborahTiempo) April 21, 2020
The asteroid is obviously not actually wearing a mask, it is just shaped like one. However, given how we all have that on, on Earth, it seems like a surprising and funny coincidence!