Near-Earth Asteroid 2021 GW4 exceptionally close encounter: online observations – 12 Apr. 2021
On 12 Apr. 2021, the near-Earth Asteroid 2021 GW4 will have an exceptionally close, but safe, encounter with us, coming at about 20000 km from the Earth’s surface, 5% of the average lunar distance. The Virtual Telescope Project will show it to you live!
The near-Earth asteroid 2021 GW4, discovered by the Mt. Lemmon survey on 8 Apr. 2021 and announced the following day by the Minor Planet Center, has an estimated diameter in the range 3.5 – 7.8 meters (source: Nasa/JPL). 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. The minimum distance will be reached on 12 Apr. at 12:56 UTC (+/- 1.5 hours: source JPL/Nasa), in the middle of the Italian day, so we will observe it the night before.
Geostationary satellites are placed at 36,000 km above the Earth surface, so 2021 GW4 is coming significantly closer. We repeat this is an absolutely safe close approach. Asteroids of that size coming so close are relatively rare, but so far this year we had four objects coming within 0.07 lunar distance from Earth’s center: 2021 GW4 is the largest of these four rocks. In the recent past, objects of this size impacted with our planet, too: 2008 TC3, 2014 AA, 2018 LA and 2019 MO. They can produce an air burst and occasionally, fragments can reach soil (as in the case of 2008 TC3 above Sudan). Of course, we also had the Chelyabinsk event in 2013, which was much larger (20 meters) than 2021 GW4.
We will show this asteroid live, online: the feed will start on 12 Apr., at 00:00 UTC.
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