At least five asteroids measuring between 10 meters and over 70 meters in diameter are said to be set to visit our planet this week, NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) revealed.
According to the agency’s tracking system, one rock, dubbed 2020 RJ, which is estimated to reach nearly 42 meters in diameter, will pass the Earth on Tuesday evening, roughly at a distance of 1.2 million km. Another stone, called 2020 RW will fly nearby on 10 September, closely followed by his peer 2020 RM, which will approach our planet as close as one million kilometers.
An even bigger intruder is then expected on Saturday, 2020 RM15, the rock which is estimated to be able to reach 75 meters in size, while travelling 9.78 kilometers per second. As a final straw, the Earth will then be closely approached by 2017 US.
In addition, some of the rocks previously spotted by the agency have already shot past our planet this week, including tiny 2020 PT4. While considered relatively small in space terms, this type of asteroids might be more difficult to detect by astronomers, according to recent footage published by the European Space Agency (ESA).
Challenge - Spot the asteroids!☄️— ESA Operations (@esaoperations) September 4, 2020
There are four asteroids lurking in this animation, can you find them?
Find out more and download the high-res gif here👉 https://t.co/GNmsEkEkmS
🗓️Deadline: 25 September#AsteroidRiddle 4⃣#SpaceCare🌍 pic.twitter.com/E7cCQmLEMk
The ESA notes that up to 95% of space intruders measuring over one kilometer in diameter can be spotted by space authorities, while the majority of smaller objects remain undetected, which could potentially create a hazardous situation for our planet.