Twenty years ago, American scientists discovered a new asteroid (66391) 1999 KW4. Finding out that its elongated oval orbit intersects with the earthly one, the scientists entered the object in the register of potentially dangerous ones .
This celestial body with a diameter of 1.3 km then approaches the Sun to a distance of 30 million km (closer to Mercury), then moves away from it by 150 million km (farther than Earth). And it rushes at a speed of 77 thousand kilometers per hour!
The location of 1999 KW4 relative to our planet is constantly changing: for the first time on May 25 it will pass at a short distance: 5.18 million kilometers, or about 13.5 distances from the Earth to the Moon. It’s pretty close, but safe. Moreover: it will give an opportunity to see it even in an amateur telescope!
At present, 150 million asteroids have been discovered in the solar system, but (66391) 1999 KW4 is unusual: its own satellite orbits around it, like the moon – around the Earth. It is flattened at the poles, and its equator surrounds a peculiar mountain range.
In the field of view from the Earth, it will be until May 27. In the first days of the approach, an asteroid can be seen in the constellations of Korma and Pump in the southern sky, and only then the object will appear in the Northern Hemisphere.
The next time the asteroid will be near our planet only in 2036, but then the distance is even shorter: 2,320,000 km. Find out what scientists surprised Ultima Thule asteroid .