AN ASTEROID first observed two days ago will skim the planet later today at speeds of more than 18,700mph, space agency NASA has found.
According to the agency’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), the first asteroid that will fly close to the planet this weekend is called 2019 QP1. As indicated in the agency’s database, this asteroid is currently traveling at a speed of almost 20,000 miles per hour and has an estimated diameter of around 102 feet.
CNEOS predicted that 2019 QP1 will enter Earth’s neighborhood on Aug. 30 at 10:15 pm EDT. During this time, the asteroid will be about 0.02689 astronomical units or around 2.5 million miles from the planet’s center.
Trailing behind 2019 QP1 is a near-Earth asteroid known as 2019 QD4. This asteroid is currently traveling at a speed of 50,000 miles per hour. CNEOS estimated that 2019 QD4 is about 125 feet long.
2019 QD4 is expected to fly close to Earth on Aug. 31 at 5:53 pm EDT. The asteroid will approach the planet from a distance of 0.01511 astronomical units or about 1.4 million miles away.
These two asteroids have been classified by CNEOS as Apollos. Like other Apollo asteroids, 2019 QP1 and 2019 QD4 have very wide orbits that go around the Sun and Earth. As they complete their orbits, they cross Earth’s path as it goes around the Sun.
Since 2019 QP1 and 2019 QD4 are on the small side with both having diameters less than 150 feet, these asteroids will most likely not reach the ground if they hit Earth. Instead, these asteroids will probably detonate mid-air shortly after entering Earth’s atmosphere.
Although 2019 QP1 and 2019 QD4 are too small to cause an impact event, this does not automatically mean they’re not dangerous. After all, they’re still significantly bigger than the asteroid that exploded over Russia in 2013.
This asteroid, which was only 66 feet long, exploded at about 97,000 feet from the ground and produced energy that’s 33 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan in World War II.
Although the explosion was mostly absorbed by the atmosphere, it was still powerful enough to damage over 7,000 structures within the area and injure about 1,500 people.