By David Freeman
A big asteroid and a small moon moon will magnify the Earth's innocent this weekend.
The binary asteroid, as it's called 1999 KW4, will make its closest method at 7:05 p.m. ET, when the objects in pairs about 3 million miles of Earth and move at a speed of about 50,000 miles per hour.
Since 1999 KW4 has been identified as potentially dangerous asteroid, there is no chance that it will hit the Earth. However, astronomers will watch the leaflet using a combination of Earth and Space based telescopes – part of an ongoing effort to improve our planetary defenses against catastrophic asteroid strikes of the type seen. in an annoying simulation recently held in Washington.
"One of the nearest binary sheets is probably a recent history," said Vishnu Reddy, a planetary scientist at the University of Arizona in Tucson. "That's what makes it a very interesting target."
Even on his closest aspect, the asteroid will be too light to see him with the naked eye, according to Reddy.
Asteroid 1999 KW4 May 20, 1999, was found at the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) facility near Socorro, New Mexico, and has been studied extensively since then.
Observations show that the primary object, or Alpha, is approximately 0.8 miles wide, shaped as a spiral top with a prominent ridge around its equator. The smaller object, or Beta, is about a third of the size of the Alpha object and is rotated around 1.6 miles.
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