NASA has been tracking asteroid 465824 2010 FR, which is twice as big as the Pyramid of Giza and is expected to cross the Earth’s orbit on September 6. It is classified as a Near-Earth Object (NEO) and a potentially hazardous asteroid (PHA). Asteroid 465824 2010 FR was discovered on March 18, 2010 by the Catalina Sky Survey (CSS).
What is an Asteroid?
Asteroids are rocky objects that orbit the Sun. They are smaller than planets and are also called minor planets. Asteroids are the remnants from the formation of the solar system over 4.6 billion years ago. Such objects are found in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, which contains some 1.1-1.9 million asteroids. The concentration of asteroids in this belt is because of the formation of Jupiter, whose gravity ended the formation of any planetary bodies thus the smaller bodies kept colliding with each other and fragmenting into asteroids.
Asteroids can be classified into Trojans, which are asteroids that share an orbit with a larger planet and Near-Earth Asteroids (NEA), which have orbits that pass close by the Earth. Those that cross the Earth’s orbit are called Earth-crossers. More than 10,000 such asteroids are known, out of which over 1,400 are classified as potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs).
Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs)
PHAs are defined based on parameters that measure the asteroid’s potential to make threatening close approaches to the Earth. All asteroids with a minimum orbit intersection distance (MOID) of 0.05 au or less are considered PHAs. However, it is not necessary that asteroids classified as PHAs will impact the Earth. It only means there is a possibility for such a threat.
How are Asteroids named?
They are named by the International Astronomical Union (IAU). Asteroids are named after the Star Trek character Mr Spock, rock musician Frank Zappa and seven asteroids that are named after the crew members of the Columbia Space Shuttle. They are also named for places and a variety of other things and the IAU discourages naming asteroids for pets.
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