Building-sized asteroid to get as close as 7.3mn km to Earth; Check speed, size and more

NASA has revealed that a building-sized asteroid is set to pass Earth today. Know its speed, size, distance of approach, and other details.

| Updated on: Oct 31 2023, 08:27 IST
Asteroid 2023 TW6 belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids. (Pixabay)
Asteroid 2023 TW6 belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids. (Pixabay)

NASA, with the help of its advanced ground and space-based telescopes such as NEOWISE telescope, Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), Pans-STARRS1 and Catalina Sky Survey, has tracked a mammoth asteroid whose orbit will bring it very close to Earth today. As per the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), an asteroid, given the designation of Asteroid 2023 TW6, is on its way toward Earth and could pass the planet at a distance of approximately 7.3 million kilometers. Know all the details about the asteroid's close approach.

Asteroid 2023 TW6: Speed, size, and more

This Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA) is expected to make its closest approach to the planet at a speed of about 88007 kilometers per hour which is much faster even a space shuttle! 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.

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.

How big is the asteroid?

According to NASA, Asteroid 2023 TW6 is approximately 280 feet wide, making it almost as big as a building! It is almost 6 times larger than the Chelyabinsk asteroid which caused destruction in 2013. Despite its size, the asteroid has not been termed 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.

Shockingly, this asteroid made its first-ever close approach to Earth more than 100 years ago! It passed by Earth on December 10, 1905, at a distance of about 63 million kilometers. After today, Asteroid 2023 TW6 will pass by Earth on October 20, 2030, at a distance of 24 million kilometers, according to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Tech used in asteroid hunting

To discover, monitor and study asteroids in space, NASA has several space telescopes and ground-based observatories in place. These include the famous Hubble Space Telescope and the new James Webb Space Telescope. Moreover, spacecraft such as Dawn, OSIRIS-REx, and Hayabusa2 have also helped in studying these ancient space rocks.

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First Published Date: 31 Oct, 08:27 IST