1200-foot asteroid to pass Earth today, says NASA; it is as big as the Empire State Building

A 1200-foot Apollo group asteroid is set to pass Earth today, October 24. Know details of this close approach such as speed, distance and more.

| Updated on: Oct 24 2023, 10:12 IST
5 asteroids to pass close to the Earth today! NASA reveals size, speed and more
1/5 Asteroid 2023 TW26: This asteroid measures approximately 21 feet in size, which is as big as the size of a small bus. It is expected to pass Earth at a distance of 898000 kilometers and will be traveling at a velocity of 20,268 kilometers per hour. (Pixabay)
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2/5 Asteroid 2023 UZ: This asteroid has an approximate size of about 39 feet. It is equivalent to the size of a bus. It will pass closr to our planet, at a distance of 585000 kilometers. It will pass close to the Earth at a remarkable speed of 47252 kilometers per hour. (Pixabay)
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3/5 Asteroid 2023 UG1: with a size of 34 feet, this asteroid is also categorized as bus-sized. It will pass closest to Earth at a distance of approximately 1.05 million kilometers and will be moving at a relative velocity of 10325 kilometers per hour.  (Pixabay)
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4/5 Asteroid 2023 TW4: The size of this asteroid is approximately 82 feet, roughly equivalent to the size of an airplane. It will pass close to Earth at a distance of 1.52 million kilometers and will be traveling at a significant speed of 37944 kilometers per hour. (Pixabay)
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5/5 Asteroid 2023 TX2:The size of this asteroid is around 94 feet, and is as big as the size of an aircraft. It will pass Earth at a close distance of 3.15 million kilometers, with a speed of 27056 kilometers per hour.  (Pixabay)
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Asteroid 2019 HH4 belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids. (Pixabay)

NASA tracks asteroids using a combination of ground-based and space-based telescopes. The NASA-funded Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS), scans the night sky for moving objects and reports any potential asteroid detections, while some space-based observatories use infrared sensors to detect asteroids and their characteristics. Some of these include the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) and the NEOWISE mission. Using these advanced instruments, the space agency has revealed information about a 1200-foot Potentially Hazardous Asteroid that is set to pass Earth today. Know all about it.

Asteroid 2019 HH4 details

The asteroid, designated Asteroid 2019 HH4, has intrigued scientists due to its colossal size. According to NASA, the asteroid is estimated to be roughly 1200 feet wide, which is comparable in size to the famous Empire State Building! Given its enormity, if Asteroid 2019 HH4 were to collide with the planet, it could cause immense destruction, particularly if it landed in a densely populated region. This is why the space rock has been classified as a “Potentially Hazardous Asteroid”.

This space rock is already on its way towards Earth at a staggering speed of 72066 kilometers per hour which is even faster than a space shuttle! Asteroid 2019 HH4 is expected to pass by Earth at a distance of 5 million kilometers.

The space agency has also revealed that it 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.

Help NASA track asteroids

Want to seek out asteroids in space and help NASA keep track of them? NASA has a new Daily Minor Planet Project live, through which, astronomers and skywatchers can help the space agency discover new asteroids and track them in new data sets. But why do we need to track them? According to NASA, some of these ancient space rocks present a potential threat of collision with Earth while others can be helpful in discovering secrets of space. Although asteroids are located far away in space, mainly in the asteroid belt, they often make close approaches to Earth, passing the planet at close distances.

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First Published Date: 24 Oct, 10:12 IST