Apollo group asteroid to come as close as 2.3 mn km to Earth, says NASA; Check size, speed
An Apollo group Near-Earth Asteroid is set to pass Earth today, December 18, NASA has revealed. Know about its speed, size, distance of approach, and more, as per the space agency.
Nearly 298148 asteroids have been discovered to date by NASA, which uses its advanced ground and space-based telescopes and satellites including the NEOWISE telescope, Pans-STARRS1, and Catalina Sky Survey. Using this advanced technology, the US space agency has tracked an asteroid that is expected to pass Earth by a close margin today, December 18. It is the only asteroid that will come close to Earth today. From size to distance of approach, know all about this close encounter with Asteroid 2023 XL11.
Asteroid 2023 XL11: Details
According to the space agency, the asteroid, given the designation Asteroid 2023 XL11, is travelling in its orbit at a breakneck speed of 42021 kilometers per hour, which is much faster than an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM)! Asteroid 2023 XL11 will pass Earth by a distance of 2.3 million kilometers, according to NASA's Defense Coordination Office (PDCO), which is responsible for monitoring the skies and keeping a watch on various Near-Earth Objects (NEOs). It is important to note that while it has been termed as a Near-Earth Asteroid due to its close distance of passing, it is not expected to actually impact the planet.
Asteroid 2023 XL11 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 extremely close approach, this asteroid has been deemed as non-threatening and has not been classified as a Potentially Hazardous Object. NASA estimates the asteroid to be almost 52 feet wide, which makes it almost as big as a house.
Asteroid 2023 XL11: Previous approaches
NASA has also revealed that Asteroid 2023 XL11 has not passed Earth before and this will be its first-ever close approach. After today, this Apollo group asteroid is not expected to pass by the planet anytime in the near future, as per NASA JPL.