Empire State Building-Sized Asteroid To Fly Past Earth Next Month
An asteroid the size of the Empire State Building is set to whizz past planet Earth on November 13, being among a number of large asteroids to come within a relatively close proximity to our home planet next month.
According to NASA, near-Earth objects can be defined as ‘comets and asteroids that have been nudged by the gravitational attraction of nearby planets into orbits that allow them to enter the Earth’s neighbourhood’.
Asteroid 2004 UE – understood to be as long as 1,246 feet – is one such near-Earth object.
However, even though this is a relatively close encounter – by interstellar standards at least – it doesn’t look like we have anything to fear from this mighty space giant; asteroid 2004 UE will pass by Earth at a distance of approximately 2.6 million miles.
Director of the Center for Near Object Studies (CNEOS) at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, Paul Chodas, told ABC News:
Astronomically, these are coming close to the Earth. But in human terms, they are millions of miles away and can get no closer than millions of miles away.
Chodas has advised that Asteroid 2004 UE ‘cannot get any closer than 11.11 lunar distances’, meaning we shouldn’t be seeing any Armageddon-esque scenarios this wintertime.
The CNEOS team tracks near-Earth objects so that astronomers are aware of close approaches, and known when exactly they can be observed.
One of the closest recent approaches is Asteroid 2021 TJ15, a near-Earth object which passed by our planet at the approximate same distance at the moon (238,854 miles away) on Saturday, October 16.
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