The Great Pumpkin (Asteroid) Will Pass Close to Earth This Halloween
A newly-discovered asteroid nicknamed The Great Pumpkin will pass close to the earth on Halloween.
The 1,300-foot wide asteroid will be close to the Earth -- just past the orbit of the moon -- early in the afternoon according to NASA.
“The trajectory of 2015 TB145 is well understood," said Paul Chodas, manager of the Center for Near Earth Object Studies at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. "At the point of closest approach, it will be no closer than about 300,000 miles -- 480,000 kilometers or 1.3 lunar distances. Even though that is relatively close by celestial standards, it is expected to be fairly faint, so night-sky Earth observers would need at least a small telescope to view it."
The Great Pumpkin will be at its closest at 1:05 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. Its gravitational influence will be so small it will have no detectable effect on the moon or anything here on Earth, including our planet's tides or tectonic plates.
NASA scientists said they hope to take advantage of The Great Pumpkin's closeness and use a new radar to make an image of the asteroid that will "offer unprecedented levels of details. There is also the possibility that its oblong shape and unique orbit could make it a comet."
NASA said the next time an object will pass this close to Earth will be in 2027.