House-sized asteroid to pass Earth at close quarters today, get as near as 4.2 mn km, NASA says
NASA has tracked Asteroid 2023 VT3 in its orbit which will bring it close to Earth today, November 10. Know details such as its speed, size, distance of approach, and more.
With the help of its advanced ground and space-based telescopes, NASA has tracked an asteroid whose orbit will bring it very close to Earth today. The orbits of these asteroids, which are also known as ancient space rocks, often bring them very close to Earth, and this is known as a ‘close approach'. As per the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), an asteroid, given the designation of Asteroid 2023 VT3, is on its way and could make its closest approach to Earth today, November 10.
Asteroid 2023 VT3: Details
This near-Earth space rock is expected to pass Earth today at a close distance of approximately 4.2 million kilometers. It is already hurtling in its orbit at a speed of about 27031 kilometers per hour, which is much faster than Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs)!
How do these space rocks come close to Earth? NASA says that the orbits of asteroids can be changed by Jupiter's massive gravity and by occasional close encounters with planets like Mars or other objects. These accidental encounters can knock asteroids out of the main belt and hurl them into space in all directions across the orbits of the other planets.
According to NASA, it 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?
In terms of size, Asteroid 2023 VT3 is nearly 60 feet wide, which makes it almost as big as a house! Despite being nearly as big as the Chelyabinsk asteroid which caused damage on Earth in 2013, this space rock isn't big enough to be classified as a Potentially Hazardous Object and is not expected to cause any damage on Earth.
These close calls with asteroids highlight the importance of continued technological development in asteroid detection and monitoring programs such as NASA's DART test. This will help to ensure the safety of our planet from the potential impact of these space rocks.
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