Two asteroids will fly past Earth Friday and Saturday including one that’s almost the size of the world’s tallest building, but astronomers say neither is a threat to hit the planet.
The asteroids have been described by NASA as “relatively medium-sized” and their calculations have ruled out the chance of the asteroids colliding with earth.
While this may sound like an extraordinary moment, the reality is, smaller asteroids pass by earth all the time.
“These asteroids have been well observed—once since 2000 and the other since 2010—and their orbits are very well known,” said Lindley Johnson, planetary defence officer and program executive for the Planetary Defence Coordination Office.
“Both of these asteroids are passing at about 14 lunar distances from the Earth, or about 3.5 million miles away [5.6m kilometres], but small asteroids pass by Earth this close all the time.”
The distance from earth for the asteroids is roughly 14 times the distance between the earth and the moon.
The first asteroid – 2010 C01 – will safely fly by earth at 11.42pm United States Easter Standard time, or at 1.42pm on Saturday, Australian Eastern time. This asteroid is estimated to be be 120 to 260 metres in size.
The second asteroid, or “Near-Earth” object, 2000 QW7, is expected to be between 290 and 650 metres in size and will pass by 7.54am EDT on September 14, which is 9.54pm on Saturday for Australia’s east coast.
Happening soon: two medium-sized asteroids will safely pass Earth! Both objects are passing by about 3.5 million miles – nearly 14 times the distance between Earth & the Moon.
— NASA (@NASA) September 12, 2019