81-foot asteroid to come as close as 2.2 mn km today, reveals NASA

An Apollo-group asteroid is predicted to pass Earth by a close margin today, November 17, NASA has revealed. Know details such as its size, distance, speed and more.

| Updated on: Nov 17 2023, 10:54 IST
5 asteroids to pass Earth, reveals NASA! Know how close they will get
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1/5 Asteroid 2023 UO - The first asteroid to pass Earth today, November 15, is Asteroid 2023 UO. During its approach, it will come as close as 2.4 million kilometers. According to NASA, the space rock is nearly 114 feet wide and is travelling at a speed of almost 24492 kilometers per hour. (Unsplash)
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2/5 Asteroid 2023 VL6 – The second asteroid on its way is designated Asteroid 2023 VL6, and it will pass by Earth today, November 15. According to NASA, this space rock has a width of nearly 55 feet. Its orbit will take it almost as close as 3.3 million kilometers to the planet’s surface while moving at a speed of 18221 kilometers per hour. (Pixabay)
Asteroid 2023 TW4
3/5 Asteroid 2021 TN3 – Another space rock named Asteroid 2021 TN3 will also pass Earth today, November 15. In terms of size, the asteroid is almost 97 feet wide. As per NASA, it will come as close as 6.5 million kilometers and is already moving at a breakneck speed of 22534 kilometers per hour. (Pixabay)
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4/5 Asteroid 2019 VL5 – Asteroid 2019 VL5 will pass by Earth tomorrow, November 16. During its close approach, it will come as close as 3.2 million kilometers to the planet’s surface. With a width of just 76 feet, the space rock is speeding towards Earth at 29595 kilometers per hour. (Pixabay)
Asteroid 2023 TW4
5/5 Asteroid 2023 VG5 – Another asteroid designated Asteroid 2023 VG5 will pass Earth on November 17. According to NASA, this 75 feet wide asteroid is travelling at almost 83869 kilometers per hour and will pass the planet at a distance of 6.5 million kilometers. (Pixabay)
Asteroid 2023 TW4
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Asteroid 2023 VG5 belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids. (Pixabay)

NASA defines asteroids as ancient space rocks left over from the early formation of our solar system about 4.6 billion years ago. Now, the space agency has alerted that one of them is expected to pass Earth today, November 17. The asteroid, given the designation Asteroid 2023 VG5, is predicted to pass the planet at a distance of 2.2 million kilometers. It was discovered by NASA's Defense Coordination Office (PDCO), which is responsible for monitoring the skies and keeping a watch on various Near-Earth Objects (NEOs). Know all about this close encounter with Asteroid 2023 VG5.

Asteroid 2023 VG5: Details of close approach

According to NASA, the asteroid is travelling in its orbit at a breakneck speed of 83832 kilometers per hour, which is much faster than a space shuttle! 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.

Despite its close approach, Asteroid 2023 VG5 does not pose any potential threat to the planet due to its relatively small size and hasn't been classified as a Potentially Dangerous Asteroid. With a width of around 81 feet, the space rock is as big as an aircraft.

What's more astonishing is that this is the first time that this asteroid will come close to Earth. After today, the next time this asteroid will make its closest approach to Earth will be on June 5, 2072, when it will fly past the planet at a distance of 13 million kilometers.

How does NASA track an asteroid?

When NASA's telescopes track a new Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA), astronomers measure the asteroid's observed positions in the sky and report them to the Minor Planet Center. The Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) then uses that data to determine the asteroid's most likely orbit around the Sun, according to NASA.

To assess whether an impact is possible and narrow down where the true orbit may be, NASA's new Sentry II then uses a new algorithm and selects random points throughout the entire uncertainty region. This allows Sentry-II to zero in on more very low probability impact scenarios.

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First Published Date: 17 Nov, 10:54 IST