Asteroid OR2 LIVE: Watch the Virtual Telescope Project stream TONIGHT
The asteroid, estimated to measure up to 1.2 miles across, came within 3.9 million miles (6.29 million km) of our planet today (April 29). Although the space rock posed no danger to the planet, its flyby was marked as “close” because it came within 0.05 astronomical units (au) of Earth. Every month, dozens of so-called near-Earth objects (NEOs) approach Earth from within five million miles.
The asteroids are tracked by NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) in California.
But tonight, the space rock is also being tracked by the Virtual Telescope Project.
Astrophysicist Gianluca Masi will follow the asteroid from the Virtual Telescope’s facilities in Italy.
You can watch the flyby live online in the embedded video player below.
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How to watch the Asteroid OR2 tonight:
Asteroid OR2 came closest to our planet today at about 10.56am BST (9.56am UTC or 5.56am EDT).
The asteroid approached us from a safe distance of about 0.04205 au or more than 3.9 million miles (6.29 million km).
But you can still watch the asteroid tonight, courtesy of the Virtual Telescope Project.
Dr Masi said: “The Virtual Telescope Project will show it live, thanks to its advanced technologies, bringing it to you via the internet.
“This way, you can join the journey from the comfort of your home.
“Our online observing session will cover the final moments of its safe, close approach.”
You can join the journey from the comfort of your home
Dr Gianluca Masi, Virtual Telescope Project
Dr Masi, who was forced to reschedule last night’s stream due to poor weather, will share the broadcast free of charge on YouTube.
You can watch the stream in the embedded video player starting at 7.30pm BST (6.30pm GMT or 2.30pm EST).
Dr Masi said: “Because of clouds, I rescheduled our live feed covering Asteroid 1998 OR2.”
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What do we know about the Asteroid 1998 OR?
Asteroid OR2 is an Amor-type near-Earth object (NEO) discovered in 1998 by NASA’s Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking programme.
NEOs are all comets and asteroids that orbit the Sun from within 1.3 au – that means they pass Earth from within about 30 million miles (48 million km).
A single astronomical unit measures about 93 million miles (149.6 million km), which is the distance from the Sun to Earth.
According to the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, the space rock measures about 1.2 miles (2km) across.
Due to its sheer size, NASA has classified the asteroid as “potentially hazardous”.
Potentially hazardous asteroids are space rocks larger than 460ft (140m) across that pass Earth within 0.05 au.
NASA said: “A relatively small number of near-Earth objects pass close enough to Earth and are large enough in size to warrant close observation.
“That’s because the gravitational tug of the planets could, over time, cause an object’s orbital path to evolve into an Earth-crossing orbit.
“This allows for the possibility of a future collision.
However, in the case of Asteroid OR2, NASA said there is absolutely no danger of impact for at least the next 200 years.
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