Large asteroid zoomed past earth | Sunday Observer

Large asteroid zoomed past earth

28 March, 2021

On March 21, 2021, Earth had its closest encounter with 2001 FO32 - the largest and fastest-known asteroid scheduled to fly past our planet this year. This asteroid will travelled at a speed that is about 100 times faster than the speed of sound!

FO32 is among the thousands of ‘near-Earth objects’, or NEOs, that orbit the Sun in our cosmic neighborhood. The space rock’s highly elliptical orbit around the Sun which takes 810 days, or just over two years, brings it close to Earth every thirty to fifty years.

While FO32 will revisit our planet on March 22, 2052, the 2021 flyby was the closest one in the next 200 years! Since FO32 is moving at such rapid speeds, observers with an eight inch or larger telescope was able to watch the space rock soar by in real-time during its closest approach. While FO32 will be visible worldwide, due to its position in the southern sky, the best views were reserved for Southern Hemisphere residents.