Nasa spots two massive objects heading towards earth

GETTYAn asteroid and potentially a comet are hurtling towards Earth

The comet is not considered a threat to our planet.

At a distance of almost 51 million kilometres from Earth, this pass will not bring it particularly close.

According to EXPRESS, two objects are now hurtling towards Earth's orbit and will come to close to Earth in January and February. But Nasa still doesn't know whether the object is an asteroid or a comet. It was brought out of hibernation to find and learn more about asteroids and comets that pose an impact hazard to Earth. But the one we care about at this exact moment is called Comet C/2016 U1 NEOWISE, and the reason we care is because of how fantastically near to us its orbit through our solar system is now taking it. It passes near Mars's orbit and the main asteroid belt over a time span of 4.9 Earth-years after which it swings right inside Earth's orbit. The 2016 WF9 has a dark appearance and reflects a very small amount of light from its surface.

While its orbit and reflectivity are typical for comets, 2016 WF9 does not have the cloud of gas and dust characteristic of comets. It was reported that the comet C/2016 U1 NEOWISE has been releasing dust as it approaches the Sun.

NASA hopes the spectacle will give an opportunity to work out what exactly it is. The comet will be visible only this week before it heads back to the other end of the solar system following an orbit lasting thousands of years. According to NASA, the object, about one kilometer across, appears to straddle the "blurry line between an asteroid and a comet".

GETTYThe comet ”has a good chance of becoming visible through a good pair of binoculars
GETTYThe comet ”has a good chance of becoming visible through a good pair of binoculars

C/2016 U1 NEOWISE reached its close point to Earth on December 13, 2016 at a distance of about 66 million miles (106 million kilometers). The celestial bodies are reportedly entering the orbit of the Earth on February 25, 2017.

The second object is expected to pass just inside Earth's orbit February 25, although NASA isn't quite sure what the object is.

According to scientists, it was relatively large, roughly 500 metres to a kilometre across, and was rather dark.

"2016 WF9 could have cometary origins", said Deputy Principal Investigator James Bauer at JPL. This is a safe distance and it is not a threat to Earth for the foreseeable future, Nasa says. They are expected to arrive within the Earth's vicinity this week. This enables NEOWISE's infrared detectors to study both dark and light-colored NEOs with almost equal clarity and sensitivity.

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Citing Trump 'uncertainty,' Fed says faster rate hikes possible
Jan 05, 2017 - 10:48
Many participants judged the risks of a sizable underestimate on unemployment had increased somewhat, according to the minutes. The Australian dollar added 0.15 percent to $0.7283, edging away from a seven-month trough of $0.7163 hit last week.

Sergio Aguero dropped by Pep Guardiola for Man City v Burnley
Jan 05, 2017 - 10:47
Pressed for an opinion on his side's perceived lack of discipline, the 45-year-old became increasingly agitated. Guardiola's stock has fallen at Manchester City with a string of erratic performances in recent weeks.

Battery production starts at the Gigafactory
Jan 05, 2017 - 10:46
-Tesla Motors has revved up production of its lithium-ion battery cells at its Gigafactory, the company announced Wednesday. According to Dickson Data , production will be evenly split between cells for Powerpack 2, Powerwall 2 and Tesla vehicles.