Cosmic encounter! Bus-sized Asteroid 2020 FQ to get close to Earth today

NASA has revealed details such as speed, distance, and other characteristics of an asteroid which is set to make a close approach today, March 9.

| Updated on: Mar 09 2023, 10:45 IST
Top NASA Astronomy Pictures of the Week: Crescent Moon, Flaming Nebula, Venus to Jupiter
1/5 Venus-Jupiter Conjunction (Feb 27) - features the view of Venus and Jupiter, but with an unusual ray of light extending from the horizon. It is known as Zodiacal light, a band of dust reflecting sunlight from the inner Solar System which becomes noticeable during certain periods when observed after sunset or before sunrise. (NASA/Ruslan Merzlyakov)
2/5 Crescent Moon and the Temple of Poseidon (Feb 28) - It is a stunning snapshot of the thin crescent Moon with the ancient Greek Temple of Poseidon at the forefront in Greece. According to NASA, the moonlight we see on Earth is sunlight reflected off the Moon's grayish-white surface. (NASA/Elias Chasiotis)
3/5 Flaming Nebula, Tadpole Nebula and Comet ZTF (March 1) - Flaming Star Nebula and the Tadpole Nebula can be seen crossing paths with the Comet ZTF. IC405, otherwise known as the Flaming Star Nebula, lies about 1,500 light-years away toward the constellation of Auriga and spans about 5 light-years across.  (NASA/Thomas Roell)
4/5 Spiral Galaxies NGC 3169 and NGC 3166 (March 2) - It is a stellar snapshot of Spiral Galaxy NGC 3169 and its neighbour NGC 3166. NGC 3169 is located almost 70 million light-years away in the constellation of Sextans (the Sextant). According to NASA, it is part of the Leo I Group of galaxies which is part of a larger galactic congregation known as the Virgo Supercluster.  (NASA/Mike Selby/Mark Hanson)
5/5 Supernova Remnant RCW 86 (March 3) - After the supernova explosion, its remnants are left behind, which are known as Supernova Remnants (SNR). NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day is an extremely rare and historical snapshot of Supernova Remnant RCW 86 which spans around 100 light-years and is located nearly 8000 light-years away.  (NASA/CTIO/NOIRLab/DOE/NSF/AURA)
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Asteroid 2020 FQ is a bus-sized asteroid heading for Earth. (Wikimedia Commons)

NASA defines Near-Earth Asteroids as ancient space rocks that revolve around the Sun and come close to the Earth's orbit. If these asteroids collide with our planet, they can cause significant harm. A Potentially Hazardous Object is an asteroid that passes within 8 million kilometers of Earth, which may seem like a large distance, but is relatively small in astronomical terms. To avoid potential damage, NASA, ESA, and other space agencies constantly monitor any Potentially Hazardous Objects.

With their advanced tech, these space agencies have issued an alert against an asteroid which is set to make a very close approach to Earth today, March 9.

Asteroid 2020 FQ details

Asteroid 2020 FQ is currently heading towards Earth and is projected to narrowly avoid colliding with the planet today, March 9. NASA estimates that it will come closest to Earth at a distance of just 5.3 million kilometers and is currently travelling at a speed of 22739 kilometers per hour.

The Planetary Defense Coordination Office at NASA has cautioned that Asteroid 2020 FQ is relatively smaller than other asteroids which pass the Earth, measuring nearly 40 feet across, which is comparable to the size of a bus.

According to, Asteroid 2020 FQ orbits the Sun in around 547 days. During this trip, its farthest point from the Sun is at 246 million kilometers and its nearest point is 146 million kilometers.

Types of asteroids

The three primary classifications of asteroids are C-type, S-type, and M-type. C-type asteroids, which are composed primarily of carbon-rich substances, are the most frequent. S-type asteroids, which are made up mainly of silicate minerals, are less common. M-type asteroids, which are primarily composed of metal, are the least prevalent.

Research on asteroids is critical since it can provide valuable information on the early stages of the solar system and planetary development. Furthermore, these celestial bodies might contain useful resources such as metals and water, which may be utilized in forthcoming space missions.

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First Published Date: 09 Mar, 10:44 IST