LAPAN: Solar Eclipse and Asteroid Skimming Earth Not Correlated



Laila Afifa

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (Lapan) researcher, Rhorom Priyatikanto says the two major astronomical events on Thursday, December 26, are not related. 

    “The two events are not interconnected. It’s a coincidence for the asteroid to pass Earth at the time,” he told Tempo.

    Rhorom refers to the annular solar eclipse and the giant CH59 asteroid that skimmed the earth’s atmosphere by just thousands of kilometers. The latter astronomical object, approximately 200 - 600 Km in diameter, was tracked by NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS). 

    CH59 is predicted to pass Earth’s trajectory with speeds up to 44,000 km/h on the morning of Thursday, December 26. 

    “The asteroid or comet’s orbit will be affected by the planet’s gravity, especially large planets such as Jupiter and Saturn. The Earth and Moon’s gravity needs to be taken into consideration in a simulation of near-earth objects,” Rhorom continued. 

    Meanwhile, the other astronomical occurrence is the annular solar eclipse on December 26, which was visible in parts of Indonesian regions. 

    “An asteroid passing-by will not have any effect on the solar eclipse’s pattern or duration. [It is possible to see changes] in Moon’s orbit and ruin the eclipse’s pattern if a major planet passes close to the earth,” he said.