Asteroid 'Taiwan' to come closest to Earth late Thursday: museum

2019/08/29 16:24:58 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Pixabay image for illustrative purpose only

Pixabay image for illustrative purpose only

Taipei, Aug. 29 (CNA) 2169 Taiwan, a carbonaceous asteroid from the central region of the asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars, will be at its closest to Earth at around 11 p.m. Thursday, the Taipei Astronomical Museum said.

The asteroid, discovered in 1964 by astronomers at the Purple Mountain Observatory near Nanjing, China, will be 270 million kilometers from Earth, the museum said.

The asteroid was later registered as "2169 Taiwan" at the Minor Planet Center (MPC), which is responsible for the designation of minor bodies in the solar system, such as minor planets, comets and natural satellites.

Although the asteroid posts an apparent magnitude of 16.2, meaning it is 12,000 times darker than the darkest celestial body visible to the naked eye, the museum for the first time tracked it through a remote-controlled telescope at the Siding Spring Observatory in Australia.

The magnitude measures the brightness of a celestial body as seen by an observer on Earth and falls in value the brighter an object becomes.

2169 Taiwan has a diameter of 14 km-19 km and rotation period of 7.252 hours, orbiting the Sun at a distance of 400 million km once every 4.66 years, according to the museum.

The next time the asteroid comes close to Earth will be in about one year's time, the museum said.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)

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