5 asteroids, including 2 the size of an airplane, are zooming close to Earth this week

00:14 07.09.2023

In a series of cosmic events that will have space enthusiasts and astronomers alike on the edge of their seats, five asteroids are set to make close approaches to Earth this week. NASA's Asteroid Watch Dashboard has reported that a house-sized asteroid, named JA5, is scheduled to soar past Earth on Wednesday, followed by four other space rocks in the coming days.

JA5, measuring around 59 feet in size, was first discovered in 2021 and is expected to miss Earth by a distance of approximately 3.17 million miles. While this may seem like a safe distance, NASA classifies objects larger than 500 feet that come within 4.7 million miles of Earth as "potentially hazardous objects" (PHO). Fortunately, JA5 falls comfortably outside this range.

The next asteroid to approach Earth will be QC5, which is approximately the size of an airplane, measuring around 79 feet. This asteroid will pass by Earth at a distance of about 2.53 million miles on Friday. It was first observed in 2023.

Following QC5, another asteroid known as GE, around the size of a bus at 26 feet, will also make its appearance. Discovered in 2020, GE will be within 3.56 million miles of Earth, still safely distant from any potential harm.

However, the real excitement comes on Sunday when the largest and closest asteroid of the group, QE8, is predicted to come within a million miles of Earth. This colossal asteroid, measuring a whopping 170 feet, is expected to soar 946,000 miles from Earth's approach. Coincidentally, another asteroid called QF6, with a size of 68 feet, is also expected to pass by on the same day, but at a safer distance of 1.65 million miles away. Both QE8 and QF6 were discovered this year.

Despite the size and number of these cosmic visitors, NASA has reassured the public that none of these asteroids pose any threat to our planet. For an object to be considered "potentially hazardous," it would need to exceed 490 feet in size, and all the expected asteroids fall well below this threshold.

The Post reached out to NASA for further comment. The agency disclosed that it has discovered over 32,000 asteroids near Earth as of last week, highlighting the importance of ongoing monitoring and research in order to understand the complexities of our cosmic neighborhood. NASA also emphasized that the average distance between Earth and the moon is approximately 239,000 miles, providing some perspective on the distances being covered by these asteroids.

For those eager to witness these celestial events, NASA offers various resources to track asteroids and comets. The Asteroid Watch Dashboard keeps tabs on objects making close approaches to Earth, providing valuable data for astronomers. Additionally, the "Eyes on Asteroids" webpage, operated by NASA, offers an interactive visualization based on data from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Center for Near Earth Object Studies. This tool allows users to witness asteroids and comets in real-time, providing a fascinating glimpse into the wonders of our galaxy.

As the week unfolds, scientists and space enthusiasts will continue to monitor these asteroids, eagerly observing their trajectories and relishing the opportunity to gain further insights into the mysteries of our universe.

/ Thursday, September 7, 2023, 12:14 PM /

themes:  NASA

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