NASA says Asteroid 2023 XB12 will pass Earth for the first time ever; Know details of this close encounter | Tech News

NASA says Asteroid 2023 XB12 will pass Earth for the first time ever; Know details of this close encounter

An Apollo group asteroid designated as Asteroid 2023 XB12 is expected to pass Earth today, December 14, NASA has revealed. Know its speed, size, distance of approach, and other details.

By: HT TECH
| Updated on: Dec 14 2023, 11:19 IST
From 49 feet to 150 feet, 5 asteroids to pass Earth soon, says NASA
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1/5 Asteroid 2023 XP1 - The first asteroid to pass Earth today, December 11, is Asteroid 2023 XP1. During its approach, it will come as close as 5.8 million kilometers. According to NASA, the space rock is approximately 131 feet wide and is travelling at a speed of almost 34493 kilometers per hour. (Pixabay)
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2/5 Asteroid 2023 XH2 – The second asteroid on its way is designated Asteroid 2023 XH2, and it will pass by Earth today, December 11. According to NASA, this space rock has a width of nearly 59 feet. Its orbit will take it almost as close as 1.9 million kilometers to the planet’s surface while moving at a speed of 36173 kilometers per hour. (Pixabay)
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3/5 Asteroid 2010 XF3 – Asteroid 2010 XF3 will pass by Earth today, December 11. During its close approach, it will come as close as 7.4 million kilometers to the planet’s surface. With a width of nearly 150 feet, the space rock is speeding towards Earth at 14304 kilometers per hour. (Pixabay)
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4/5 Asteroid 2023 XN3 – Another space rock named Asteroid 2023 XN3 will pass Earth tomorrow, December 12. In terms of size, the asteroid is almost 49 feet wide. As per NASA, it will come as close as 5.2 million kilometers and is already moving at a breakneck speed of 29982 kilometers per hour. (Pixabay)
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5/5 Asteroid 2023 WO3 – Another asteroid designated Asteroid 2023 WO3 will pass Earth tomorrow, December 12. According to NASA, this 137 feet wide asteroid is travelling at almost 33442 kilometers per hour and will pass the planet at a distance of 3.5 million kilometers. (Pixabay)
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Asteroid 2023 XB12 belongs to the Apollo group of Near-Earth Asteroids (NEA), NASA says. (Pixabay)

To discover, monitor and study asteroids in space, NASA has several space telescopes and ground-based observatories in place such as the NEOWISE telescope, Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), Pans-STARRS1, Catalina Sky Survey, the Hubble Space Telescope and the new $1 billion James Webb Space Telescope. Moreover, spacecraft such as Dawn, OSIRIS-REx, and Hayabusa2 have also helped in discovering and studying these ancient space rocks, unlocking their secrets. While these space rocks are millions or even billions of kilometers away from Earth, located in the main asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, their orbits bring them close to Earth on some occasions. NASA has revealed that this is the case today as an asteroid is expected to pass Earth by a close margin today, December 14. Know all about this close encounter.

Asteroid 2023 XB12: Speed, size, and more

The asteroid has been designated as Asteroid 2023 XB12 by NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS). This Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA) is expected to make its closest approach to the planet at a speed of about 17539 kilometers per hour. During its closest approach, it will pass by the planet at a distance of approximately 5 million kilometers. 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 XB12 is approximately 85 feet wide, making it almost as big as an aircraft! It is larger than the Chelyabinsk asteroid which caused destruction in 2013, damaging over 7000 buildings and leaving nearly 1000 people injured. 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.

According to NASA, Asteroid 2023 XB12 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.

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First Published Date: 14 Dec, 11:19 IST
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