If you run down the list of things we've had to deal with recently, it's pretty mind boggling. A pandemic, a cicada swarm, and now a "potentially hazardous" asteroid making a close approach?

I talk about this because I think Jersey Shore residents are worriers by nature, so this is the kind of thing that catches our attention. And after all we've been through, you'll excuse us if our nerves are a little frayed.

Let's start by defining close approach. Most of us consider a close approach the distance that SUV was away from your car door on the Asbury Circle or the guy that got within five feet of you on line at 7-11 yesterday. Or that time you got two numbers on Powerball,

But when astronomers talk about close calls, they do it in terms of millions of miles. but do you want to know the truth? The way we're going, a million miles is still too close, right? We have enough to deal with.

So, we reached out to the Robert J. Novins Planetarium at Ocean County College to see if we could get to the bottom of this. We learned some things about this asteroid when we talked to the planetarium's manager, Cara Muscio, known as Captain Cara to all students across Ocean County who have enjoyed her sky talks both in person and virtually .

It's not going to come any closer than 1.3 million miles, according to Newsweek. Just to give you some perspective, the moon is is about 239,000 miles away from Earth, so you'd have to travel the distance to the moon more than 5 times to get to this asteroid.

It will be the largest asteroid to pass Earth at that proximity in 2021, but there is absolutely no concern of it getting too close for comfort. So, why is it considered 'potentially hazardous".

It turns out that science defines 'potentially hazardous' in this case as any object getting within 4.6 million miles of Earth and measuring 460 feet in diameter. On the Parkway we define it a little differently.

And in case you were cursing at the guy doing 90 on 195 this morning, apparently that's nothing. This asteroid passes by us at 77,000 mph.I doubt if the EZ Pass will register.

And can we see it from New Jersey? First, you can't see it at all with the naked eye, and unfortunately even with a good sized telescope this one is not visible from either Monmouth or Counties.

By the way, you can check out Wonders Of The Spring sky, a virtual sky talk about this asteroid, the latest on Perseverance and much more. Go to the Novins Planetarium website.
Listen to Lou & Shannon mornings on 94.3 The Point and download our free 94.3 The Point app.



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