NASA clocks Asteroid 2023 PX at 27252 kmph and it is hurtling towards Earth

An Aten group asteroid is expected to make its closest approach to Earth today, August 15. According to details revealed by NASA, it is already hurtling towards the planet and will pass by very closely!

| Updated on: Aug 15 2023, 10:43 IST
Asteroid 2023 PQ, along with 3 other asteroids, approaching Earth today, NASA reveals
1/5 Asteroids follow orbits that occasionally bring them near Earth, and their potential threat to our planet is a concern acknowledged by the US space agency NASA. Throughout time, various asteroid impacts have occurred, such as the Chelyabinsk asteroid event and the much earlier Chicxulub asteroid. The latter is believed to have resulted in the extinction of dinosaurs. Recently, in an incident in France, a space rock struck a woman in the chest. There is in fact a continuous flow of asteroids past the Earth and a few come very close and among these are 4 asteroids that are approaching Earth today. (Pixabay)
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2/5 Asteroid 2023 PQ: Asteroid 2023 PQ will make its close approach towards Earth today. This Airplane- sized asteroid has a width of around 110 feet. It will approach Earth at a distance of 0.47 million Kilometers at a speed of 53308 kilometers per hour. According to NASA, it is not hazardous to Earth. (Pixabay)
3/5 Asteroid 2023 OE5: According to the details published by the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), an asteroid, given the designation of Asteroid 2023 OE5, is on its way toward Earth and could make its closest approach to the planet today. As per the details, Asteroid 2023 OE5 is expected to make its closest approach to the planet at a distance of just 0.96 million kilometers, and at a speed of 13937 kilometers per hour. The asteroid is estimated to be the size of a house with a width of 59 Feet.  According to NASA, this asteroid isn't large enough to be a "Potentially Hazardous Object.  (Pixabay)
4/5 Asteroid 2023 PA1: Another asteroid that is approaching Earth today is 2023 PA1. According to the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), this is an Airplane- sized asteroid with a width of 98 Feet. It will approach Earth with the closest approach of 1.56 million kilometers. It will be hurtling towards Earth with a speed of 72700 Km per hour. (Pixabay)
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5/5 Asteroid 2023 PS: The last asteroid that will approach Earth today is 2023 PS. It is a house-sized asteroid and has a width of 56 Feet. It will approach Earth with a speed of 28266 Km per hour. Its closest approach to the Earth will be 1.58 million kilometers. According to NASA, this asteroid is not a ‘Potentially Hazardous Object’ for Earth. (NASA)
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Asteroid 2023 PX belongs to the Aten group of asteroids, as per NASA. (Pixabay)

Asteroids are space rocks mostly present in the main asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Since these bodies are so far, how do NASA and other space agencies track them? Sometimes, interaction with a planet's gravitational field knocks these asteroids off their trajectories and sends them towards a planet like Earth for potential impact. When NASA's telescopes track a new Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA), astronomers measure the asteroid's observed positions in the sky and report them to the Minor Planet Center. The Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) then uses that data to determine the asteroid's most likely orbit around the Sun, according to NASA.

NASA has revealed details such as the speed, distance, size, and more of the asteroid that will come close to Earth today.

Asteroid 2023 PX details

The asteroid, given the designation of Asteroid 2023 PX, is on its way towards Earth today, August 15. The asteroid 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). The most concerning asteroid of this asteroid is its size. While it isn't big enough to be called a planet killer, Asteroid 2023 PX is almost 100 feet wide, which makes it as big as an aircraft!

It is speeding towards the planet at a blistering speed of 27252 kilometers per hour and will pass the planet at a distance of about 4.9 million kilometers, putting it in the category of Near-Earth Objects (NEOs).

The space agency has also revealed that Asteroid 2023 NP 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. 

These asteroids have an orbital period of less than one year and spend most of their time hidden by the Sun.

Previous asteroid impacts on Earth

Although asteroids have been safely passing near Earth these past few months, it doesn't mean a collision with Earth isn't on the cards. In fact, an asteroid was the reason behind the extinction of one of the largest species on the planet nearly 65 million years ago – dinosaurs.

According to the Alvarez hypothesis, the extinction was caused by a massive asteroid that crashed on Earth more than 65 million years ago. The asteroid terraformed the planet and is likely the reason that started the extinction of dinosaurs. Scientists have even found the impact crater of the asteroid in Chicxulub, near the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.

And a few years ago, the Chelyabinsk incident happened, and much before that, the Tunguska event. The largest asteroid to hit Earth was around 2 billion years ago and it left behind the Vredefort crater near Johannesburg. These close calls serve as a reminder to consistently keep an eye on these ancient space rocks for potential impacts which could change the course of history.

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First Published Date: 15 Aug, 10:04 IST