'Spooky' – the eerie skull-shaped asteroid – set to return in 2018 - watsupptoday.com
'Spooky' – the eerie skull-shaped asteroid – set to return in 2018
Posted 22 Dec 2017 12:35 PM

Agencies
While NASA keeps us updated about the asteroids they are currently probing and space rocks that may go buzzing past Earth, not many can forget the ominous-looking gigantic space rock that’s shaped like a skull and known as the ‘Halloween Death Asteroid‘.

According to reports, the eerie-looking space rock is all set to make an appearance in November 2018.

Last seen on October 10, 2015, Pan-STARRS discovered PHA 2015 TB145, a nearly 500 meter wide asteroid that whizzed safely past Earth at distance of 300,000 miles on Halloween that year.

Nicknamed 'Spooky' by some, the first radar images of the asteroid were generated by the National Science Foundation's 305-meter (1,000-foot) Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.

The radar images from Arecibo indicated that the object is spherical in shape and approximately 2,000 feet (600 meters) in diameter and completes a rotation about once every five hours.

Believed to be a 'dead comet', it was radically altered after orbiting the Sun for millions of years and is between 625 and 700 metres wide.

An asteroid is generally made of rock or metal, while a comet consists of ice and rock.

It’s thought the Halloween space rock may once have been a comet until the ice was boiled off over a long period of time.

As per Metro.co.uk, Pablo Santos-Sanz from the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia has just published an academic paper detailing his observations of the object.

He said the Halloween Death Asteroid would not come as close to Earth during its next visit, zooming by at about 105 times the distance between our planet and the moon.

‘Although this approach shall not be so favourable, we will be able to obtain new data which could help improve our knowledge of this mass and other similar masses that come close to our planet,’ the astronomer added.

Earth's encounter with the Halloween Death Asteroid in 2015 marked the closest approach of an object of that size since 2006.

The next time we’ll experience such a close shave will be in August 2027.

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