Thursday, May 30, 2024

Astronomy: Newfound asteroid to make a near-Earth approach on November 20

An expert says the asteroid poses no threat from the estimated distance.

• November 12, 2020
Photo used to illustrate this story (
Photo used to illustrate this story (

Sources on Thursday said an asteroid discovered by Chinese astronomers would make a near-Earth pass next week posing no threat to the planet.

Sources with the Purple Mountain Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences made the announcement, adding that the asteroid was first spotted by the observatory on November 6.

The observation stations in Croatia, the Czech Republic, Italy and the U.K. had since kept a close eye on it, confirming its existence and determining its orbit.

The Minor Planet Centre under the International Astronomical Union on Sunday confirmed the asteroid discovery and designated it 2020 VA1.

The closest distance the newly discovered object would be from the sun was about 145 million km.

According to the observatory, the asteroid is heading toward Earth and is expected to make a flyby at 08:08 a.m., Beijing Time on Nov. 20.

Zhao Haibin, an astronomer with the observatory, said the asteroid is expected to approach a distance of 4.48 million km from Earth’s surface, or about 11.7 times the distance between Earth and the moon.

“Given the huge distance, the asteroid will pose no threat to Earth,’’ Mr. Zhao said.

The Chinese observatory’s Near-Earth Object Telescope enables China to carry out long-term asteroid monitoring and warning tasks, qualifying the country to join the International Asteroid Warning Network.

We have recently deactivated our website's comment provider in favour of other channels of distribution and commentary. We encourage you to join the conversation on our stories via our Facebook, Twitter and other social media pages.

More from Peoples Gazette

Katsina State


Katsina youths pledge to deliver over 2 million votes to Atiku

“Katsina State is Atiku’s political base because it is his second home.”

Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC)


FCCPC engages market leaders on rising food prices

The commission’s investigative mission prioritises consumer protection and competition issues.

Akaw Toekula Polytechnic


Benue unveils plans to upgrade Akawe Torkula poly for practical skills

The rector said the governor was deliberate to improve the lives of Benue people, especially the youth.

Kwara State


Foundation enrols 1,000 poor people in Kwara health insurance scheme

Jetawo-Winter said that the government should not be left to cater to all the people’s needs.

Climate change logo


Nigeria begins stakeholders’ engagements on climate action

The committee will coordinate and oversee all the policies and programmes on climate action.