The Skull Shaped Asteroid Will Return In 2018

In 2015, Earth experienced a close encounter with an asteroid that had a weird shape. Astronomers estimated the return time of the weird skull shaped asteroid to be in 2018.

Space never stops surprising us with peculiar and rare things.

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Astronomers said that planet Earth will experience ‘a rendezvous’ with an asteroid that pretty much matches the form of a skull.

According to the experts, the object identified as 2015 TB145 is most likely constituted out of the remnants of an extinct comet.

The skull shaped asteroid (Image Credit: NAIC-Arecibo/NS)

The skull shaped asteroid is around 620 and 700 meters in diameter and has a rotation period of 2.94 hours.

Pablo Santos-Sanz, an astronomer of the Institute Astrophysics of Andalusia in Spain, described it as “a dark asteroid, whose reflectance index is scarcely superior to that of coal.”

Furthermore, he said that the asteroid, right now, is 3.7 astronomical units away from Earth.

The skull shaped asteroid also has a magnitude of 26.5. Thus, is only noticeable from Earth if you use extremely large telescopes.

This space object attracted the attention of the astronomers when it first came near the Earth on Halloween in 2015.

Animation of the rotation of the asteroid

Back then, the skull-shaped asteroid crossed a distance of 499,000 kilometers of our planet, with a speed of 125,500 kilometers per hour.

While this near contact lasted, astronomers were observing cautiously aiming to collect as much as the information they can.

Fortunately, the various analyses, including the Pan-STARRS telescope in Hawaii, scientists managed to shape the asteroid’s path. Thereupon, they estimated that the same asteroid will pass Earth again in November 2018.

However, the weird asteroid will pass more away from our planet, more precisely, with a distance of about 105 Earth-Moon distances.

On the other hand, when the previous encounter happened in 2015, the range was only 1.3 Earth-Moon distances.

But, although the NASA scientists made careful determinations, they still warn us that the skull-shaped asteroid has an unusual orbit. This means that they are not sure where it will end up, hoping it won’t crash on Earth.

People on social media already shared their opinion. Some of them think that if such an asteroid crashes here, it could wash out entire cities.

Moreover, if the asteroid hits the Earth, there is 71% chance that will crash into watery areas, not land ones. But this makes a tsunami the next thing to worry about.

Also, a fireball from the collision would have a radius of eight kilometers, causing major earthquakes with high Richter scale.