Aircraft-sized asteroid will pass Earth today, says NASA; Know speed, size, distance and more


In a new development, NASA, with the help of its advanced ground and space-based telescopes, has revealed that an asteroid is expected to pass Earth today, December 29. The space agency made this discovery using its advanced instruments such as the NEOWISE telescope, Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), Pans-STARRS1, and Catalina Sky Survey. According to NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, the space rock has been designated Asteroid 2023 YZ. Know all about the asteroid’s close approach to Earth such as its speed, size, distance of approach, and more.

Asteroid 2023 YZ: Speed, size, distance, and more

As per the details, Asteroid 2023 YZ is expected to pass Earth at a distance of approximately 3.8 million kilometers. It is already travelling towards Earth in its orbit at 20233 kilometers per hour which is almost as fast as an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM)!

This space rock belongs to the Apollo group of Near-Earth Asteroids, which are Earth-crossing space rocks with semi-major axes larger than Earth’s. These asteroids are named after the humongous 1862 Apollo asteroid, discovered by German astronomer Karl Reinmuth in the 1930s.

According to NASA, Asteroid 2023 YZ has passed Earth before. It first came close to Earth on January 30, 2022, at a distance of about 39 million kilometers. After today, it is not predicted to pass by the planet in the near future.

How big is it?

Asteroid 2023 YZ is almost the size of an aircraft, with a width of nearly 89 feet. Despite this big size, it has not been classified as a Potentially Hazardous Object and is deemed non-threatening. However, it could change if the asteroid gets knocked off its course due to interaction with a planet’s gravitational field.

Due to such close calls, NASA, ESA, and other space agencies have developed technology to track asteroids in their orbits, and even deflect them in case a potential impact scenario develops.

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