Ciencia, General — January 29, 2008 at 4:16 pm

El asteroide pasa hoy muy cerca de la Tierra


Si hoy os estáis sintiendo intranquilos, como es mi caso, es posible que sea por el campo magnético del objeto celeste.

San Juan, 29 ene (AP).- Desde el Observatorio de Arecibo, ubicado en el
norte de Puerto Rico, fue captado con gran precisión este lunes el paso
cerca de la Tierra del asteroide 2007 TU24, de unos 20.000 millones de

El asteroide, que es tan grande como tres campos de fútbol, pasó por el
campo de visión del radar entre las 16.07 y las 18.31 de Puerto Rico
(2007 y 2231 GMT) a aproximadamente 537.496 kilómetros de distancia del

“Pudimos verlo esta tarde”, dijo Ellen Howell, una de las científicas
del Observatorio de Arecibo, en entrevista con la AP.

Howell explicó que el radiotelescopio podrá volver a ver el asteroide
entre el 1 y el 4 de febrero en horas de la madrugada.

El Radiotelescopio de Arecibo es un enorme radar que se utiliza para
hacer investigaciones en astronomía, estudios planetarios, ciencias de
la atmósfera y el espacio.

En una entrevista con la AP, el director del Observatorio, Robert Kerr,
destacó la importancia de estudiar la órbita, tamaño y masa de los
asteroides que pasan cerca de la Tierra, ante lo desastroso que
resultaría su impacto en la superficie terráquea. Si un asteroide como
el 2007 TU24 impactara la Tierra, dejaría un hueco de entre 5 y 6
kilómetros de diámetro. Si cae en el mar, provocaría un tsunami, y si se
estrella contra una gran ciudad, podría destruirla.

“Las consecuencias serían impresionantes”, precisó.

Insistió en que el Observatorio de Arecibo es “el mejor y el que más luz
recoge” para poder determinar la órbita, tamaño y masa de objetos como
éste que se acercan al planeta.

Michael Nolan, astrónomo y especialista en asteroides del observatorio,
señaló que el 2007 TU24 ha pasado 10 veces cerca de la Tierra desde el
año 600 después de Cristo.

“Con las observaciones que hagamos en las próximas semanas, podremos
medir su tamaño y su masa”, puntualizó.

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