NASA has announced yet another possible asteroid flyby past Earth. The space agency’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) is, at the moment, observing a small bunch of four asteroids that are currently heading towards us. Two if these space rocks were only identified on the first day of the new year.
CNEOS is responsible for monitoring the atmosphere in order to identify any dangerous asteroids, but considering the vastness of space, that is a massive area to verify. This might explain why two of the total number of space rocks in the group were only detected yesterday.
Four Flybys Earth
Asteroid 2020 AC, having a diameter of approximately 89 feet (27 meters) and traveling at about 13,000 miles (21 kilometers) per hour, will be the first space rock to fly close to Earth at 1.56 a.m EST. The second asteroid that will follow 2020 AC soon is the 72-foot-wide (21 meters) 2020 AD, which is moving at the incredible speed of 35,000 miles (56 kilometers) per hour, and will pass by Earth at 4.12 a.m EST.
The largest asteroid in the group, 2019 YH2, with a size of about 459 feet (139 meters) and speeding at about 32,000 miles (51 kilometers) per hour, is expected to make an appearance past Earth at 4.36 a.m EST.
The last space rock in the bunch, the 2019 AE3, measuring about 72 feet ( 21 meters) and traveling at more than 18,000 miles (28 kilometers) per hour, will pass by our planet at 9.08 a.m EST.
Asteroids 2020 AD and 2019 YH2 are labeled as Apollo space rocks, having an extremely wide orbit, and the 2020 AD and 2019 AE9 are classified as Aten asteroids, which means they have a semi-major trajectory that is similar to that of Earth.
Asteroid 2020 AD will be the only space object in the group that will come the closest to us, traveling at a distance of just 556,000 miles (894,795 kilometers). For a bit of reference, the Moon is located 238,855 miles (384,399 kilometers) away.