Aircraft-sized asteroid to pass Earth by a close margin today, reveals NASA
In a new development, NASA has revealed that an aircraft-sized asteroid is expected to pass Earth by a close margin today, December 11. Know its speed, size, distance of approach, and more.
NASA has a suite of advanced tech equipment used for observing and monitoring Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) such as asteroids, comets, and more. The month of November was filled with numerous asteroid approaches, and December seems to continue the trend with another asteroid set to pass by Earth today, December 11. This space rock was spotted by NASA's Defense Coordination Office (PDCO), which is responsible for monitoring the skies and keeping a watch on various Near-Earth Objects (NEOs), using various space and ground-based telescopes such as NEOWISE telescope, Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), Pans-STARRS1 and Catalina Sky Survey. Know the details of its close approach.
Asteroid 2010 XF3: Details of close approach
As per the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), this near-Earth space rock is expected to make its closest approach to the planet at a distance of 7.4 million kilometers. It is moving towards Earth at a breakneck speed of approximately 14304 kilometers per hour!
NASA has revealed that Asteroid 2010 XF3 belongs to the Aten group of asteroids, which are Earth-crossing Near-Earth Asteroids (NEAs) with semi-major axes smaller than Earth's. They are named after the asteroid 2062 Aten and the first of its kind was discovered by American astronomer Eleanor Helin at Palomar Observatory on January 7, 1976.
How big is the asteroid?
NASA has not been designated as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid. Only celestial objects larger than 492 feet that pass Earth at a distance closer than 7.5 million kilometers are designated so, and Asteroid 2010 XF3 does not fulfill one of these requirements. In terms of size, it is nearly 150 feet wide, which makes it almost as big as an aircraft! It is more than twice as big as the Chelyabinsk asteroid that exploded over the Russian city in 2013, damaging 7000 buildings and injuring 1000 people with glass shards flying around.