While NASA, ESA and other space agencies have developed advanced technologies to locate, track and monitor asteroids in space, the first ever asteroid discovery happened accidentally! Astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi, while making a star map in 1801, accidentally discovered a small object about 1000 kilometers (about twice the length of New York State) in diameter and named it Ceres. This asteroid is also the largest space rock ever observed.
Although not anywhere close to that in size, NASA has issued a warning against an asteroid that is expected to make its closest approach to Earth today.
Asteroid 2023 HY3
NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office is responsible for monitoring the skies and keeping a watch on various Near-Earth Objects (NEOs). The organization has issued a warning against an asteroid designated as Asteroid 2023 HY3. This Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA) is expected to make its closest approach to Earth today, May 1.
Whilst this asteroid will come very close to the planet, it is not expected to impact the surface. According to NASA, Asteroid 2023 HY3 will pass by Earth at a distance of 6.3 million kilometers. It is travelling at a speed of 23596 kilometers per hour.
Asteroid 2023 HY3 belongs to the Amor group of asteroids, which are Earth-approaching near-Earth asteroids with orbits exterior to Earth’s but interior to Mars’, named after asteroid 1221 Amor.
NASA tech used to study asteroids
NASA not only uses its space telescopes and observatories like the NEOWISE to observe and study distant asteroids, but also a variety of ground-based telescopes such as the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) located in the Antofagasta Region of the Atacama Desert in Chile.
NASA also has a new impact monitoring system in place which uses an algorithm called Sentry-II to calculate the impact risk of Near-Earth Objects. NASA can track the orbital path of the asteroid using this infrared data and can even predict its orbit years into the future. As of now, nearly 28,000 near-Earth asteroids have been discovered using various tech instruments which track objects in the sky.