NASA Spies Either Comet Or Asteroid Passing Along Earth For A Week

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NASA Spies Either Comet Or Asteroid Passing Along Earth For A Week Comet 17/P Holmes Jörg Weingrill / Flickr CC

Scientists from NASA’s NEOWISE mission are closely monitoring two possible comets that were seen in our solar system.

On Friday, NASA announced in a statement that the mission may have detected two comets. They are expected to arrive within the Earth’s vicinity this week. NASA, however, noted that identification of one of the two celestial objects is still unresolved.

Codename 2016 WF9

Based on the latest report from NASA, the object was last spotted on November 27, 2016 as it continues to orbit our solar system. The object, codenamed 2016 WF9, has been traveling inward the solar system over the past 4.9 years.

NASA could not specify the origin of the object, but it’s likely that it originated from a comet. Another possibility is that it strayed from the main asteroid belt until it reaches its current location.

The undetermined object is expected to approach Earth at its closest distance of 32 million miles on February 25. There have been no direct threats detected from the oncoming object, NASA added.

Confirmed Comet Spotted

Meanwhile, the comet NASA has already identified is also orbiting around the Sun. It was reported that the comet C/2016 U1 NEOWISE has been releasing dust as it approaches the Sun.

NASA’s Paul Chodas said it’s possible that it could become a great astronomical phenomenon when it gets near the Sun. It can best be seen in most parts of the northern hemisphere.

“[It] has a good chance of becoming visible through a good pair of binoculars, although we can’t be sure because a comet’s brightness is notoriously unpredictable,” Chodas said in the report.

NASA scientists reported that the oncoming 2016 WF9 has a size ranging from 500 meters to a kilometer. Comets differ from Asteroids in terms of origin, where they orbit, and physical features, among others.

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