"Messengers of Armageddon": Asteroids That Pose Threat to Earth (PHOTOS)

CC0 / UKT2 / Asteroid
Asteroid - Sputnik International
On September 1, Florence the asteroid will whizz past Earth making it the largest asteroid sighting in history. It will then be gone for 500 years. NASA has assured that this asteroid doesn’t pose any threat to our planet, but there are some asteroids out there which are a danger to Earth. Sputnik takes a look at some of these heavenly bodies.


433 Eros is one of the largest near-Earth asteroids. It is stony and elongated and its observation history is over 100 years old. In January 2012, the asteroid, weighing almost 7 trillion tons, was only 27 million kilometers from Earth, which is about one-sixth the distance of our planet to the Sun. On a cosmic scale it is, however, quite trivial.

CC0 / NASA/JPL/JHUAPL / Asteroid Eros
Asteroid Eros - Sputnik International
Asteroid Eros


According to experts, the asteroid 99942 Apophis may collide with Earth in 2036. Scientists, however, state that this can happen only as a result of rapprochement with Earth in 2029, the asteroid whose diameter is 0.370 kilometers will change its orbit. In the United States, scientists have already developed a project of an asteroid mission, which should reduce the risk of a collision with Apophis.

© NASA . UH/IA Asteroid Apophis
Asteroid Apophis - Sputnik International
Asteroid Apophis


367943 Duende also known as 2012 DA freaked out world astronomers in 2012. The asteroid, weighing 130, 000 tons, passed near Earth at a distance of 28, 000 kilometers, which is 13 times less than the distance to the Moon. In the sky above Indonesia, Duende could be seen with the naked eye. Scientists believe that the space object will visit the Earth’s orbit again in about 30 years.

CC0 / NASA/JPL Near-Earth Object Program Office / Diagram of 2012 DA14 passing the Earth on 15 February 2013
Diagram of 2012 DA14 passing the Earth on 15 February 2013 - Sputnik International
Diagram of 2012 DA14 passing the Earth on 15 February 2013

“Crimean” Asteroid

Space object 2013 TV135, discovered by  Crimean Observatory employee, Gennady Borisov,, has a chance to collide with Earth in 2032 according to NASA calculations. However, some experts assess the possibility of this event differently. At the time of its detection the question of probability was 1 in 6, 000 today it is 1 in 345, 000. Several years ago, the asteroid was even removed from the number of potentially dangerous celestial bodies.

© NASA . JPL-CaltechThis diagram shows the orbit of asteroid 2013 TV135 (in blue)
This diagram shows the orbit of asteroid 2013 TV135 (in blue) - Sputnik International
This diagram shows the orbit of asteroid 2013 TV135 (in blue)


At the point of closest approach, YU55 will be no closer than 324,600 kilometers, or 0.85 the distance from the moon to Earth. The last time a space rock as big as 2005 YU55 came so close to Earth was in 1976, although astronomers did not know about the flyby at the time. The next known approach of an asteroid this large will be in 2028.

CC0 / NASA/JPL-Caltech / Radar image of 2005 YU55 asteroid
Radar image of 2005 YU55 asteroid - Sputnik International
Radar image of 2005 YU55 asteroid


According to NASA experts, the asteroid 101955 Bennu is the most likely candidate to "hit" the Earth. According to scientists, this could happen in the late 22nd century. In order to minimize the risk, the OSIRIS-REx device was sent to Bennu, which in 2020 is set to investigate a potentially dangerous celestial body. Based on the data of the Osiris expedition,  experts plan to develop a protective program against the asteroid.


3122 Florence is the largest near-Earth asteroid in the history of NASA observations. Despite its impressive size (diameter of more than 4 kilometers),  it does not currently pose a threat to our planet. In September, Florence will flyby at a distance of 7 million kilometers from Earth, and it will only be seen again in 2500.

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