NASA reveals TWO asteroids will fly right through ‘Earth’s neighborhood’ starting tonight
- Asteroids are estimated to be about 400 to 850 feet and 950 to 2,100 in size
- First, called 2010 C01, will make its closest approach at 11:42 p.m. EDT on Sept 13
- The second will be right on its heels, passing by Earth 7:54 p.m. EDT Sept. 14
- They’ll be about 14 lunar distances from Earth, or roughly 3.5 million miles away
Earth’s cosmic neighborhood will get a visit from two medium-sized asteroids this weekend, according to NASA.
The space agency has been tracking the two objects 2010 C01 and 2000 QW7 over the last two decades and estimates them each to be several hundred feet in size.
Fortunately, neither pose any threats to our planet.
Asteroid 2010 C01 will pass by just before midnight on Friday followed by 2000 QW7 on Saturday evening.
Earth’s cosmic neighborhood will get a visit from two medium-sized asteroids this weekend, according to NASA. File photo
The space rocks are estimated to be about 400 to 850 feet (120 to 260 meters) and 950 to 2,100 (290 to 650 meters) in size, respectively.
The first will make its closest approach at 11:42 p.m. EDT on Sept. 13 with the second right on its heels, passing by Earth 7:54 p.m. EDT Sept. 14.
During the flyby, they’ll be about 14 lunar distances from Earth, or roughly 3.5 million miles away.
Both asteroids are what scientists consider near-Earth objects. Objects in this class orbit the sun and sit within Earth’s neighborhood, or within 30 million miles of our planet’s orbit, NASA says.
The space agency keeps tabs on these through the work of its Near-Earth Object Observations Program, which monitors their activity and calculates future close approaches and impact potential.
While scientists are still sometimes caught off guard by objects that manage to evade detection, there’s no surprises with the two heading our way this weekend.
‘These asteroids have been well observed – once since 2000 and the other since 2010 – and their orbits are very well known,’ says Lindley Johnson, planetary defense officer and program executive for the Planetary Defense Coordination Office at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC.
‘Both of these asteroids are passing at about 14 lunar distances from the Earth, or about 3.5 million miles away, but small asteroids pass by Earth this close all the time.’
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF SPACE ROCKS?
An asteroid is a large chunk of rock left over from collisions or the early solar system. Most are located between Mars and Jupiter in the Main Belt.
A comet is a rock covered in ice, methane and other compounds. Their orbits take them much further out of the solar system.
A meteor is what astronomers call a flash of light in the atmosphere when debris burns up.
This debris itself is known as a meteoroid. Most are so small they are vapourised in the atmosphere.
If any of this meteoroid makes it to Earth, it is called a meteorite.
Meteors, meteoroids and meteorites normally originate from asteroids and comets.
For example, if Earth passes through the tail of a comet, much of the debris burns up in the atmosphere, forming a meteor shower.