General, Research, Technology

On September 1, an asteroid the size of a multi-storey building will approach the Earth

If you believe the reports of foreign publications, the beginningfall 2020 promises to be very "fun". Right now, the asteroid 2011 ES4 is moving towards our planet, which will approach us at the maximum distance on September 1. This asteroid was discovered by scientists several years ago and they already know the trajectory of its movement relative to the Sun, its speed and even its approximate size. For you to understand, this space stone can be compared to a high-rise building in size. Right now, you can look out the window and look at the first panel nine-story building that comes across - an asteroid of about this size and flying in our direction. Yes, if such an object hits the planet and scatters into many parts, people will definitely not seem a little. But can it really fall on us and we should be worried? Let's figure it out.

Another asteroid is flying towards our planet

Features of the asteroid

Asteroid 2011 ES4 was discovered on March 2, 2011years, when he was at a distance of more than 8 million kilometers from the Earth. Astronomers were able to observe the object for four days and this time interval was quite enough for a detailed study of it. Unfortunately, scientists were unable to photograph the object, but they did reveal its main characteristics.

The diameter of the asteroid is from 22 to 49 meters,and its speed is estimated at 8.16 kilometers per second. It belongs to the Apollo group, that is, its orbit intersects with the Earth's orbit. He makes one circle around the Sun in 416 Earth days, that is, in about one year. It is moving away from us by 203 million kilometers, then it is approaching about 124 million kilometers.

2011 ES4 travel path shown in white

Approaching an asteroid

Already on September 1, at 19:12 Moscow time, asteroid 2011 ES4 will once again approach us at the maximum possible distance. According to scientists, the distance between it and the Earth will be 121 thousand kilometers - this is more than usual. It also means that it will become closer to us than the Moon, from which we are separated by an impressive 384.4 thousand kilometers. At the same time, the speed of its movement will not change at all from usual and will leave the same 8 kilometers per second. Imagine - this space object can cover several kilometers in an instant!

The asteroid will be closer than the moon

But does all this mean that he will collide with ourplanet and destroy a city? Scientists are sure not - although the asteroid is larger than the Chelyabinsk meteorite often mentioned in such cases, its trajectory does not intersect with the location of the globe. If the probability of a collision of 2011 ES4 with our planet were high, astronomers would sound the alarm and try to calculate the approximate place of its fall. If this place was not an ocean but some busy city, the population would be immediately evacuated. And so, the space object is not even included in the list of potentially dangerous, so we have nothing to worry about.

See also: What is known about the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs?

Consequences of an asteroid fall

But if we assume that the 40-meter spacethe object really hit the Earth, it would be a disaster. Indeed, even the Chelyabinsk meteorite with a diameter of 20 meters created such a strong blast wave that windows were knocked out of thousands of residential buildings. Fragments of the meteorite and shattered glass wounded hundreds of people and some of them were even hospitalized. And if you consider that the 2011 ES4 object may consist of harder materials than the Chelyabinsk "guest", it could cause even greater destruction.

The moment the Chelyabinsk meteorite fell

Fortunately, in 2020 we got carried away. But do not forget that Apollo asteroids from time to time still fly near our planet. The next time asteroid 2011 ES4 will approach us at a dangerous distance on September 2, 2055. The likelihood of a collision will also be very small, and who knows - maybe by that time we will already be living on Mars or another distant planet? Although, asteroids also often fall on their surface, and the cosmic threat will always stand over humanity. We just need to be on the lookout for danger.

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The risk of collision with an asteroid will increase and 2November 2020. On this day, the space object 2018 VP₁ will fly to the vicinity of our planet. Scientists are aware of this danger and have already told us in detail about its features and level of danger. You can read about a dangerous asteroid in this article.