Upon discovery, the object had British cabbage, who had warned of his supposed dangerousness. On April 29, a asteroid baptized 1998 OR2 will pass approximately 6.3 kilometers from Earth. But no need to panic, NASA said last March that a collision with our planet is not to be expected. Scientists have, however, already succeeded in obtaining pictures of this 4-kilometer-diameter celestial monster.
As Numerama reports, the asteroid was photographed twice. A first image was obtained on March 24 thanks to the Elena telescope, as part of the Virtual Telescope project launched in 2006 by the Italian astronomer Gianluca Masi. 1998 OR2 was then 25 million kilometers from Earth, says the observatory.
Another photograph was taken April 19 using the Receco radio telescope, which is located in Puerto Rico. “It looks like he’s wearing a mask,” said Arecibo Radar’s Twitter account.
The passage of an asteroid near Earth offers an important opportunity for the scientific community, who can study them better and glean new information on their composition and their reaction to external stresses. “They tell us about the early stages of planet formation because unlike them, which grew and heated, they kept their small size and their initial composition. And all the information that we will acquire about them will allow us to prepare for one of them“, Explained last September to RTL Patrick Michel, astrophysicist director of research at the CNRS.