A large space rock will zip past our planet Earth this Halloween. It is most likely to be a dead comet that will bear a spooky resemblance of a skull, The National Aeronautic Space Administration has reported on their website.
The asteroid 2015 TB 145 will fly past our planet at 1.3 lunar distances, or about 490,000 km, at 1.00 pm on Saturday. It won't be much of a threat to Earth but it will still be quite a sight.
Scientists are thoroughly observing the asteroid with NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF)on Maunakea, Hawaii. They have determined that the heavenly body may have shed its unpredictability after its various trips near the Sun.
"The IRTF data may indicate that the object might be a dead comet, but in the Arecibo images it appears to have donned a skull costume for its Halloween flyby," said Kelly Fast, IRTF programme scientist.
Vishnu Reddy, a research scientist at the US Planetary Science Institute, nicknamed the asteroid as 'Spooky' because it is similar to dark carbonaceous meteorites.
This image of asteroid 2015 TB145, a dead comet, was generated using radar data collected by the National Science Foundation's 1,000-foot (305-meter) Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.| Source: NASA
"We found that the object reflects about six percent of the light it receives from the sun. That is similar to fresh asphalt, and while here on Earth we think that is pretty dark, it is brighter than a typical comet which reflects only 3 to 5 percent of the light. That suggests it could be cometary in origin but as there is no coma evident, the conclusion is it is a dead comet," said Reddy.
This was not the asteroid's last visit to Earth. Reportedly it will be seen in Earth's neighbourhood in September 2018 and it will bear a distance of 38 million kilometres or about a quarter the distance between Earth and the Sun.