51-foot asteroid, 2 others nearing Earth today; Check distance, speed here

As many as three asteroids are zooming towards planet Earth today. NASA has informed about their speed and distance. Here is all you need to know.

| Updated on: Apr 15 2023, 10:06 IST
Best NASA Astronomy Pictures of the Week: Polaris, Running Chicken Nebula and more
Running Chicken nebula
1/5 Running Chicken Nebula (April 10) - It is a snapshot of IC 2944, also known as the Running Chicken Nebula. According to NASA, it is located about 6,000 light years away towards the constellation of the Centaur and spans almost 100 light-years across. The nebula's strange nickname, Running Chicken, comes from the chicken-like shape of its brightest region, which resembles a running bird. (NASA/Daniel Stern)
North star
2/5 Polaris, the North Star (April 11) - It is a fascinating image of Polaris and the dust that surrounds it. Although there are 200 billion trillion stars in the sky, Polaris is particularly special because it can help orient yourself as it is located in the direction of the true north. It is also known as the North Star or Pole Star and is present in the constellation of Ursa Minor. (NASA/Javier Zayaz)
Andromeda Galaxy
3/5 Star cloud in the Andromeda Galaxy (April 12) - This captured image shows the star cloud NGC 206 in the Andromeda Galaxy. It is the brightest star cloud in the galaxy as seen from Earth. Also known as Messier 31, it is a spiral galaxy located approximately 2.5 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation Andromeda. According to NASA, the Andromeda Galaxy is twice the size of our own Milky Way galaxy, spanning across nearly 260,000 light-years and containing over 1 trillion stars. (NASA/Howard Trottier)
NASA globular star cluster
4/5 Globular star cluster NGC 2419 (April 13) - It is the globular star cluster NGC 2419. It is a multi-generational star cluster located about 300,000 light-years away towards the constellation of Lynx. According to NASA, the stars populating globular clusters are very similar because they formed at roughly the same time and because of this, they tend to display similar properties. (NASA/ESA/Hubble)
Spiral Galaxy
5/5 Fascinating Hamburger Galaxy (April 14) - It is a fascinating snapshot of NGC 3628, also known as the Hamburger Galaxy. It is a spiral galaxy located about 35 million light-years away towards the constellation of Leo and spans about 100,000 light-years. According to NASA, NGC 3628 shares its neighborhood in the local Universe with two other large spirals M65 and M66 in a grouping otherwise known as the Leo Triplet. (NASA/Mike Selby/Mark Hanson)
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Here's what NASA informs about the asteroids nearing Earth today. (Pixabay)

Do you know that there are currently 1278661 known asteroids, according to NASA? All these asteroids vary in their sizes with the largest at about 329 miles (530 kilometers) in diameter to less than 33 feet (10 meters) across. Asteroids are classified under three categories- Main Asteroid Belt, Trojans, and Near Earth Asteroids. The near-Earth asteroids have orbits that pass close by that of Earth. Here we will be telling you about one such near-earth asteroid, which will pass close to Earth today, Saturday, April 15.

51-foot asteroid 2023 GC1

This 51-foot asteroid named 2023 GC1 is all set to pass by planet Earth today along with two other asteroids. However, this house sized asteroid is the largest compared to the other two. According to the details provided by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, asteroid 2023 GC1 will make its closest approach to Earth at a distance of 5.92 million kilometers and is travelling at a speed of 23652 kilometer per hour. Will it be dangerous? Well no. As already stated it will simply pass by the planet.

Meanwhile the other two asteroids that will zoom past Earth today are a 38-foot asteroid named 2023 FN13 and a 33-foot asteroid named 2023 GZ. Travelling at a speed of 16272 kilometers per hour, the 38 foot rock will come as close as 1 million kilometers to planet Earth. While, the 33 foot asteroid will be as close as 760000 kilometers rushing at a speed of 30960 kilometers per hour. Notably, none of these asteroids are posing any kind of threat to the planet.

Do you know how asteroids are named?

According to NASA, the International Astronomical Union's Committee on Small Body Nomenclature is not very strict when it comes to naming asteroids. As a result, out there orbiting the Sun we have a giant space rock named for Mr. Spock – a cat named for the character of "Star Trek" fame. There's also a space rock named for the late rock musician Frank Zappa. There are more somber tributes, too, such as the seven asteroids named for the crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia killed in 2003. Asteroids are also named for places and a variety of other things. Asteroids are also given a number, for example (99942) Apophis.

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First Published Date: 15 Apr, 10:06 IST
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