The Halloween Asteroid Is Coming Back

Do you remember or know about the freakish Halloween Asteroid that did an Earth flyby on Halloween three years ago? Well, we’ve got some good news, if you like that kind of thing – it’s coming back. And it’s going to be just as ugly this time around.

Halloween Asteroid
Artist’s illustration. Credit: J. A. Peñas/SINC

Asteroid 2015 TB145, otherwise known as the Halloween Asteroid both for its first appearance and creepy visuals, streaked by the Earth on Halloween 2015, coming only 300,000 miles of our planet. This put it almost as close as our own moon, which in astronomical terms is a close shave (okay, that’s not really an astronomical term, but it was close).

Extinct Comet

Researchers now believe that the Halloween Asteroid is really an extinct comet that has lost its fiery interactions and now is mostly a black mass (which does nothing to make it seem any friendlier). The asteroid laps around our Sun once every 3.04 Earth years, making mid-November 2018 its next appearance date. This probably means that it will miss the Halloween celebrations this time around, but its ghoulish visage (all 2,100 feet of it) will be showing in the sky for everyone to enjoy.

Halloween Asteroid
Credit: NAIC-Arecibo/NSF

The skull face may have to be timed since the asteroid rotates once every 2.94 hours, and its black surface only reflects roughly 5 percent of the light that hits it.  The Halloween Asteroid won’t be as neighborly this time either since it is expected to be at a greater distance from the Earth. Researchers are still looking forward to its approach since it will be a good chance to obtain new data. This data could help improve our knowledge of not only this spooky asteroid but also other masses that come close to our planet.

Yes, this time around there won’t be a close shave from a large asteroid that looks like a skull face. I’m okay with that.

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