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When does it arrive and how do you see it?

When does it arrive and how do you see it?

And Giant asteroidreferred to by the abbreviation (415029) 2011 UL21, is rapidly approaching Earth. This celestial body, whose diameter is estimated at about 2.3 kilometers, will be visible in the night sky in June. This will be a rare, unmissable sight, which is worrying. But what is the risk of impact?

The first image of the asteroid

The asteroid was first captured in an image on May 24, by Gianluca Masi, Ernesto Guido and Marco Rocketto, using an automated telescope in Australia. This first image marks the beginning of a period of observation that will culminate in his own period Flying to the ground.

But what makes this event so special? In 2011, UL21 will pass 6.6 million kilometers from Earth, about 17 times the distance between us and the Moon. This makes it one of Larger asteroids It has a history of passing near our planet from 1900 to today.

When and how to see the asteroid

Gianluca MassiThe astrophysicist and scientific director of the Virtual Telescope Project explains: “A potentially dangerous asteroid is a precise official definition, relating to objects larger than about 140 meters and capable of approaching a distance of 7.5 million kilometers from Earth. “This does not mean that they will hit the ground, but they deserve attention.”

For astronomy enthusiasts, this will be an event not to be missed. UL21 2011 will initially be visible only from the Southern Hemisphere, but from… June 27 It will begin to rise among the stars of the northern sky, becoming visible even from Italy.

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It will reach maximum brightness Between 28 and 29 June They can be observed with amateur instruments throughout the entire first week of July. The Virtual Telescope Project will be broadcast live on June 30, starting at 10.30pm, hosted by Gianluca Masi. Using telescopes installed in Manciano (Grosseto), Massey will guide spectators in observing this magnificent celestial visitor.

What is the asteroid (415029) 2011 UL21

Asteroid (415029) 2011 UL21 is a medium-sized Apollo-class asteroid, meaning its orbital path crosses Earth’s path. Its diameter is between 1.7 and 3.8 kilometers, which is equivalent to the size of Mount Everest.

It completes one revolution around the Sun every 3.09 years, is located within 0.74 astronomical units of the Sun, and reaches a maximum distance of 3.51 astronomical units. Its rotation around the axis occurs every 2.73 hours.

It is classified as Potentially dangerous Due to its proximity in future paths, this is why 2011 UL21 remains under constant observation by astronomers around the world. There is indeed a risk that it could collide with Earth, but this definition is only a formality at the moment.

What does that mean potentially dangerous

As Gianluca Masi also explained, an asteroid is classified as potentially hazardous if it has two characteristics:

  • Diameter greater than 140 metres;
  • And the’It rotates in orbit Which makes it less than 7.5 million kilometers from Earth, a distance equivalent to about 20 times the distance between Earth and the Moon.

This classification was created by NASA and is shared by other space agencies. This does not automatically mean that the asteroid You will reach the groundBut it must remain under constant monitoring to more accurately predict its future paths and assess any risk of impact.

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