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Asteroid Taller Than Empire State Building to Hurtle ‘Incredibly Close’ to Earth

NASA classifies Near-Earth Objects as comets and asteroids whose orbital trajectory brings them astronomically close to our planet, with the space agency keeping an eye on NEOs that are perceived as big enough to warrant interest.

A colossal asteroid is on track to hurtle past our planet in a “close approach” trajectory this weekend, NASA’s asteroid trackers have confirmed.

NASA estimates Asteroid JD1, as it has been named, measures somewhere between 656ft and 1,476ft (200m to 450m) across, and at the upper end of the scale stands taller than New York’s Empire State Building.

This colossal asteroid will approach Earth at around 12.44pm BST (8.44am EDT) on Sunday, 3 November, zooming past our planet with a speed of more than 26,600mph (42,900kph).

Thankfully, Asteroid JD1 will not come close enough to sound any alarm bells.

At its closest, it will approach Earth from a distance of 0.03312 astronomical units, with one astronomical unit measuring the distance from the Earth to the Sun – 93 million miles (149.6 million km).

Asteroid 2015 JD1 was first spotted in the solar system four years ago in May 2015.

NASA’s trackers have since characterized it as an Apollo-type NEO or Near-Earth Object.

NEOs are comets and asteroids that circle the Sun at a distance of 1.3 astronomical units, with many intersecting the Earth’s orbit throughout the years, and sometimes hitting it.

© Twitter/NASANew Year's Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova
Asteroid Taller Than Empire State Building to Hurtle ‘Incredibly Close’ to Earth  - Sputnik International
New Year's Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova

In this particular case, Asteroid JD1 crosses Earth’s orbit in a fashion similar to Asteroid 1862 Apollo.

“Some asteroids and comets follow orbital paths that take them much closer to the Sun and therefore Earth – than usual. If a comet or asteroids approach brings it to within 1.3 astronomical units of the Sun, we call it a near-Earth object,” said NASA.

According to a 2018 White House report spelling out the dangers of asteroid impacts, a space rock as small as 459ft (140m) across could level a city the size of New York.

The report stated:

“Larger NEOs greater than 140 meters have the potential to inflict severe damage to entire regions or continents. Such objects would strike Earth with a minimum energy of over 60 megatons of TNT, which is more than the most powerful nuclear device ever tested. Fortunately, these are far less common and are easier to detect and track than smaller NEOs.”

The report went on to say that after almost two decades of search, NASA and its partners had catalogued about one-third of the estimated 25,000 NEAs that are at least 140m.

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