NASA Tracking Huge Christmas Day Asteroid Heading Towards Earth At 22,000mph
Forget Santa Claus, somebody write a letter to Bruce Willis! A massive Christmas Day asteroid is cruising towards Earth at 22,000mph.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year… or, it would be, if it weren’t for the current pandemic, the general unhappiness of 2020 and crippling sense of dread that’s been ruminating pretty much all year.
Christmas will be a bit different this time around. We’ll all have to make changes to our usual, likely hectic festivities. Smaller houses, waving outside homes rather than hugs. Oh, to sweeten the nut, there’s also a ginormous asteroid heading our way.
Zip on over to the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s database of NEO Earth Close Approaches and you can see all the gigantic space rocks set to fly past our humble planet. Today alone, December 22, three are expected to pass, the largest of which could be as big as 72 metres wide.
It’s wild above the atmosphere, up there in the great unknown, with asteroids flying towards Earth at rapid, bullet-chasing speeds. It happens all the time, while it’d be great cause for concern if one were to be at risk of directly colliding with Earth, they mostly soar right past us. Sometimes meteorites fall to the surface, but rarely do they cause major damage or harm.
We’re expecting a number of asteroids right through to Christmas Day. On Christmas Eve, a small asteroid will pass by at a distance of 733,288 miles away.
However, as we all open our presents and gorge on chocolate and maybe enjoy a little tipple, one mighty rock will make its way past our planet.
The wonderfully titled Asteroid 501647 (2014 SD224) will make its way past Earth on December 25 at 8.20pm EST, around 1.20am GMT. It has a diameter of 92-210m – so it could be taller than Seattle’s Space Needle.
It’s currently travelling at more than 22,000mph. For reference, that’s more than 10 times faster than a .50 calibre bullet, 16 times faster than Concorde and 791 times faster than Usain Bolt running across the skies.
Unfortunately for stargazers, don’t expect to see 501647 flying above the clouds like Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Day. It won’t be visible from Earth, so don’t worry about closing your eyes, falling asleep and missing a thing.
You’d probably have a better chance of seeing Father Christmas as he finishes off his deliveries, as the asteroid will be 1,877,410 miles away from us.
The only Deep Impact we need to worry about this Christmas is the emotional turmoil of existing on Earth.
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