NASA detected a stadium-sized asteroid that quickly approached Earth

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has confirmed an asteroid approximately the size of a stadium zoomed past Earth on February 2.

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NASA's powerful radar system detected an asteroid zoom past Earth on February 2, and according to estimations, the asteroid named 2008 OS7 is approximately the size of a stadium.

Image by Gianluca Masi of the Virtual Telescope Project in Ceccano, Italy

The space rock was detected using the Goldston Solar System Radar, and according to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), 2008 OS7 orbits the Sun every 2.6 years, coming extremely close to Venus at its closest point to the Sun and then eventually out past Mars' orbit when it's at its greatest distance from the Sun. NASA has categorized 2008 OS7 as "potentially hazardous" due to its size and proximity to Earth, but it's not considered a direct threat to our planet, as represented by its fly-by on February 2.

When 2008 OS7 passed by Earth, it was at a distance of 1.8 million miles, or about 7.5 times the distance between the Earth and the moon. While that may seem like an extreme distance when thinking about how far away things are on Earth, in space, that is considered to be quite close, hence the "potentially hazardous" categorization by NASA. The asteroid was first discovered in 2008, and researchers estimated it was anywhere between 650 and 1,650 feet wide.

Image by Gianluca Masi of the Virtual Telescope Project in Ceccano, Italy

Image by Gianluca Masi of the Virtual Telescope Project in Ceccano, Italy

However, follow-up observations led researchers to decrease those estimates to anywhere between 500 to 650 feet wide. Furthermore, the new observations revealed that 2008 OS7 rotates at a slow rate of 29.5 hours and made its close approach to Earth at a speed of 40,638 mph.

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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science, space, and artificial intelligence news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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