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NASA tracks Asteroid 2023 WG; it will come as close as 6.7 million km to Earth today

NASA has tracked Asteroid 2023 WG in its orbit which will bring it close to Earth today, December 8. Know details such as its speed, size, distance of approach, and more.

Updated on: Dec 08 2023, 11:30 IST
Asteroid 2023 WG belongs to the Amor group of asteroids. (WikiMedia Commons)
Asteroid 2023 WG belongs to the Amor group of asteroids. (WikiMedia Commons)

NASA defines asteroids as ancient space rocks left over from the early formation of our solar system about 4.6 billion years ago. Most of them are mainly found in the main asteroid belt located between Mars and Jupiter. However, on a few occasions, the orbits of these asteroids bring them close to Earth, a phenomenon known as a ‘Close approach’. With the help of its advanced space and ground-based telescopes, NASA has now revealed that an asteroid is expected to pass Earth by a close margin today, December 8. Know the details of this close encounter with Asteroid 2023 WG.

Asteroid 2023 WG: Details

An asteroid, given the designation of Asteroid 2023 WG, is on its way and will pass Earth at a very close distance today, December 8. NASA revealed these details after tracking the asteroid’s orbit using its satellites and space and ground-based telescopes such as NEOWISE, Catalina Sky Survey, Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), Pans-STARRS1, and more. As per the details, Asteroid 2023 WG is expected to pass Earth by a distance of 6.7 million kilometers.

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According to NASA, this space rock belongs to the Amor group of Near-Earth Asteroids which are Earth-approaching near-Earth asteroids with orbits exterior to Earth but interior to Mars', named after asteroid 1221 Amor, which was discovered by Belgian astronomer E. Delporte in 1932. It is already hurtling along at a speed of about 23687 kilometers per hour, which is much faster than Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs)!

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How do these space rocks come close to Earth?

NASA says that the orbits of asteroids can be changed by Jupiter's massive gravity and by occasional close encounters with planets like Mars or other objects. These accidental encounters can knock asteroids out of the main belt and hurl them into space in all directions across the orbits of the other planets.

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First Published Date: 08 Dec, 11:30 IST