Proximity alert! Whopping 180-foot asteroid speeding towards Earth for close approach

A gigantic asteroid, which is almost as big as an aircraft, could make a very close approach to Earth soon, says NASA.

| Updated on: May 03 2023, 09:55 IST
5 asteroids rushing towards Earth! One to come as close as the Moon
1/5 Asteroid 2023 HV5 – Asteroid 2023 HV5, which almost 41 feet wide, will make its closest approach to Earth tomorrow, May 3. The asteroid is already rushing towards Earth at a speed of 32152 kilometers per hour and will pass the planet at just 435,000 kilometers, which is almost as near as the Moon!  (Pixabay)
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2/5 Asteroid 2023 HF7 – Another asteroid named Asteroid 2023 HF7 is heading for Earth and will make a close approach on May 4. This asteroid, with a size of approximately 52 feet, is heading for Earth at a blistering speed of 47116 kilometers per hour. It will miss Earth at a close distance of just 638,000 million kilometers.  (Pixabay)
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3/5 Asteroid 2023 HH7 – Asteroid 2023 HH7, which is almost 88 feet wide, is heading for Earth and will make a close approach on May 4. This asteroid is heading for Earth at a blistering speed of 88314 kilometers per hour and will miss Earth by 838,000 kilometers.  (Pixabay)
4/5 Asteroid 2023 HZ4 – The biggest asteroid of the bunch, Asteroid 2023 HZ4 will make its closest approach to Earth on May 4. According to NASA, this asteroid is almost as big as an airplane with a width of 170 feet. The asteroid will come as close as 3 million kilometers near Earth and is already moving at a fearsome speed of 81916 kilometers per hour.  (Pixabay)
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5/5 Asteroid 2006 HX57 – The fifth asteroid, with a width of almost 94 feet, is named Asteroid 2006 HX57 and will be making its closest Earth approach on May 5. It will come as close as 2.5 million kilometers, according to NASA. The asteroid is moving at a breakneck speed of 39655 kilometers per hour.  (Pixabay)
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Asteroid 2023 HZ4 belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids. (Pixabay)

Several asteroids make close approaches to Earth on a daily basis. Their close approaches serve as a reminder of the potential danger that asteroids can pose to our planet. Just remember what happened to the dinosaurs! To minimize the uncertainty and counter the threat, space agencies like NASA, ESA and others continue to keep an eye on these Near-Earth Objects which have the potential to cause major destruction on Earth if they ever impacted.

With the help of its advanced tech, NASA has now revealed that one of the asteroids that is on its way is gigantic and could approach Earth at a very close distance!

Asteroid 2023 HZ4 details

NASA has warned that an asteroid, given the designation of Asteroid 2023 HZ4, is speeding towards Earth and is expected to pass by the planet closely tomorrow, May 4. In fact, this space rock is already on its way towards us travelling at a staggering speed of 81907 kilometers per hour. The asteroid will make its closest approach to Earth at a distance of just 3.07 million kilometers or 0.02058 astronomical units (AU).

An astronomical unit (AU, or au) is basically a unit of length equal to the average, or mean, distance between Earth and the Sun, that is, 149,597,870.7 kilometers. Although this distance may seem a lot, it is relatively a small number in astronomical distances, considering how big the asteroid is.

More details

Asteroid 2023 HZ4 belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids which are Earth-crossing space rocks with semi-major axes larger than Earth's. They are named after the humongous 1862 Apollo asteroid, discovered by German astronomer Karl Reinmuth in the 1930s.

This is particularly concerning due to its sheer size. With a width of nearly 180 feet, this space rock is the size of an aircraft! Impact of an asteroid this size would cause regional destruction but would not be able to end life on Earth.

These close calls with asteroids highlight the importance of continued technological development in asteroid detection and monitoring programs, which help to ensure the safety of our planet from the potential impact of these space rocks.

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First Published Date: 03 May, 09:55 IST