Asteroid 2020 SW Approach: Will not annihilate Humanity

Asteroid 2020 SW
Photo : Maxime Storn

Asteroid 2020 SW is in the Pegasus constellation. Its current Right Ascension is 23h 48m 45s and has a magnitude of 20.35 (JPL). The asteroid will pass close to the earth on the 24th of September. The asteroid will pass closer than weather satellites. This near-earth object will brighten as it draws near. However, you won't observe it with the eye alone. Earth's gravity will bend the asteroid's trajectory. 

Asteroid 2020 SW was discovered on 18th September 2020 from Mt. Lemmon Observatory in Arizona. The asteroid will pass at an estimated distance of 17,556 miles (28,254 km) from Earth. This is closer than the moon's distance or geostationary satellites. The Earth's gravity will bend the rock's trajectory. This is because Asteroid 2020 SW is small. Asteroid 2020 SW is traveling at a speed of 17,336 miles per hour (27,900 km/h) or relative to Earth. This is a safe distance. It will probably pass over New Zealand or Australia.

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Asteroid 2020 SW closest approach to Earth will occur on September 24 at around 11:18 UTC (7:18 am ET). Calculations show there is no risk of impact. However, there's some uncertainty on the asteroid's orbits. As such, the closest approach might occur earlier or later. The space rock has dimensions of about 14 to 32 feet (4.3 to 9.7 meters) in diameter. Asteroid 2020 SW orbits the sun every 372 days. The rock's orbit is seven days longer than Earth's. The asteroid will not impact Earth. This is based on calculations done on its orbit for the next 50 yrs.

Will Asteroid 2020 SW be Visible

Asteroid 2020 SW will not be visible to the naked eye. At a visual magnitude of 13.0 to 13.5, it will be too faint. However, it will be visible with a small or large telescope. The space rock is currently located in the constellation of Pegasus the Flying Horse. Later on, it will move to the constellation of Pisces the Fish. On the 23rd of September, it will have a visual magnitude of 15. It will then increase brightness as it approaches Earth. On the 24th of September, it will reach a visual magnitude of 13 to 13.5.

Asteroid 2020 SW will look like a slow-moving star. All you'll need is a telescope. However, it has to be positioned correctly. Timing is also important. The asteroid will be easily visible on the dawn of the 24th. At 5:45 EDT, 09:45 UTC. Asteroid 2020 SW will pass very close to the Earth. As such, our gravitational force will bend its trajectory. It'll pass around 11:18 UTC (7:18 am ET). The closest distance will be 17,556 miles or 28,254 km from Earth. But it will not hit Earth. 

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Asteroid 2020 SW is currently above the horizon from Greenwich, UK. It's visible in the South-South-West direction. Its current altitude is 59°. It's only visible using a telescope. This is due to its magnitude.

To locate the asteroid you need a finder chart. It will show the rock's position with respect to the brightest stars. You can find the chart here with an interactive planetarium.

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