An upcoming leviathan asteroid, 2019 OU1, that multiple media reports have suggested would be equal to the Great Pyramid of Giza in size, has turned out to be much smaller and will fly by within a safe distance from our planet, according to Sergei Naroenkov, a senior academic of the Solar System Research Department at the Institute of Astronomy of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
“The said asteroid, about 70-80 metres wide, per updated information, doesn’t pose any danger to Earth. It will approach Earth at a distance of one million kilometres, which is three times the distance to the Moon”, Naroenkov explained, stressing that the celestial body poses no threat to Earth.
The Apollo-class object, which won’t exceed 100 metres in size, is thus much smaller than the landmark 139-metre Egyptian pyramid, the researcher argued. “The object is a far cry from 160 metres wide, as was previously reported”, he added.
The asteroid, dubbed 2019 OU1 in astronomical terms, is expected to approach Earth on 28 August, scientists at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) stated. Previously estimated to be around 160 metres wide, it was classified as a Potential Hazardous Object - or Asteroid - (PHA). A striking example of one of these was the Chelyabinsk meteor that exploded above the Russian Ural city in 2013 - and despite it being only 20 metres wide, the shockwave from its blast led to 1,500 injuries and damaged thousands of houses.
Recently, in late July, a huge space rock, 2019 OK, which was referred to as “a city killer”, whizzed past the Earth’s surface within a mere fifth of the distance to the Moon, at a mind-blowing velocity of about 24 kilometres a second. Per NASA’s estimates, the object was nearly twice as massive as the Great Pyramid of Giza and 2.7 times as tall as the Statue of Liberty in New York. What was most disturbing at the time was that the Apollo-class “potentially hazardous” object was only tracked at very short notice.