NASA Warns Of Two Massive Space Objects Coming Toward Earth SoonBy Emily Marks, UniversityHerald Reporter
NASA has issued a warning about two massive objects in space are hurtling toward Earth. It is expected to come close to our planet this month or in February.
Express reported that one of the celestial bodies has been identified as a comet named C/2016 U1 NEOWISE. It was first discovered by NASA's asteroid hunting project, the NEOWISE mission last October.
Apparently, the closest point that the C/2016 U1 NEOWISE would reach the Earth is on Jan. 14. Paul Chodas from NASA pointed out that it is highly likely that the comet would even be visible with a good pair of binoculars. However, he did clarify that it is still unsure since the comet's brightness is still unpredictable.
Scientists are still baffled over the other space object, though. It is still unsure whether it's a comet or an asteroid.
The mysterious object has been dubbed as 2016 WF9. It is confusing since it has the same reflective body structure of a comet but its trail does not have icy debris, which is typical of comets.
James Bauer, NASA's Deputy Principal Investigator of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, has said that the mysterious space object may have its origin from comets. Moreover, it shows how "blurry" the boundary between asteroids and comets is.
According to Mirror, 2016 WF9 was found by the same asteroid hunting project that discovered C/2016 U1 NEOWISE. It was detected on Nov. 27, 2016.
2016 WF9 is estimated to be about 0.3 to 0.6 miles or 0.5 to 1 kilometers across. It was also said that its orbit is on a "scenic tour" of the solar system.
Next month, it will come near the Earth's orbit at an estimated distance of 32 million miles or 51 million kilometers from our home planet. NASA has also confirmed that it is "not a threat to Earth for the foreseeable future."