The start of the new astronomical season will coincide with a near-Earth object bigger than the Statue of Liberty flying by the Earth on Wednesday afternoon.
The asteroid 2021 NY1 is a Near-Earth Object with a diameter of 580 feet, making it more than twice the height of Lady Liberty in New York Harbor and more than thrice the height of Niagara Falls.
While a rock of this size may cause problems if it collides with the Earth, NASA claims it is not on its way to do so. This is also the closest approach it will go to Earth until at least the year 2193.
Near-Earth Object Will HARMLESSLY Pass by Earth on Wednessday Morning
According to TheSkyLive, the asteroid is projected to pass the Earth harmlessly around Wednesday morning soon before 11 a.m. EDT, just a few hours before the equinox, but near is a relative word.
TheSkyLive, which cited a report by NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies. said the asteroid be 930,000 miles away from Earth at its closest approach. That is about four times the distance between the moon and the Earth. It travels across the solar system at a rate of about 6 miles per second, far faster than a racing bullet.
Despite its size and closeness to the Earth, many skywatchers will be unable to see it without the use of a powerful telescope. This asteroid passes by during the September equinox, which is a coincidence.
In the Northern Hemisphere, summer will turn to autumn at 3:21 p.m. EDT, while winter will turn to spring in the Southern Hemisphere. AccuWeather said this is not the same as meteorological autumn, which began on September 1.
Other Near-Earth Object SAFELY Passing Through Earth This Week
Newsweek said the smaller asteroid 2021 RX9 will fly past our planet on Tuesday at a dizzying speed of 33,000 miles per hour. That's roughly 16 times the speed of a rifle bullet. The near-Earth object is estimated to be as big as the Pyramid of Giza and as tall as the Pyramid of Giza (128 feet). On the other hand, this asteroid will pass by Earth at a distance of about 1.8 million miles.
The asteroid 2021 QV6 will also make a fly-by on Earth on Friday. This asteroid is predicted to be 525 feet broad, about the same size as the Washington Monument. This asteroid will travel closer to Earth, about 2.2 million miles away.
NASA has categorized all of these asteroids as Near Earth Objects, or NEOs. Asteroids or comets with orbits that bring them within 121 million miles of Earth are classified as NEOs. A space object must also complete an orbit around the Sun in less than 200 years to be categorized in this way.
For the last 23 years, CNEOS has been detecting and tracking NEOs. Its mission began in 1998 when a mile-wide asteroid named 1997 XF11 was discovered to be on a collision course with Earth in 2028.
The team has found approximately 25,000 NEOs since the late 1990s. They've discovered a sub-category of Potentially Hazardous Objects among them (PHOs). These are asteroids that are threatening to reach our planet dangerously near.
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