5 big asteroids to fly past Earth today, closest approach at 5,10,000 km


Five asteroids are set to fly past Earth on Saturday, April 13. Three of them are of the size of a bus and two are of the size of an airplane. US space agency NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) shared details of these five asteroids on its website. Here’s all you need to know about them and their time of fly-past.

ALSO READ: Earth had close shave with over 100 Vatican City, Burj Khalifa-sized asteroids in 2023: NASA’s top targets unveiled

1. Asteroid 2024 GV3: Among the five asteroids, this asteroid will make the closest approach to Earth on Saturday. It will fly past at a distance of 5,10,000 km from Earth. Notably, the average distance between Earth and the moon is about 3,85,000 kilometers. It is a “bus-size” asteroid, approximately 21-feet wide. It belongs to the Apollo group.

2. Asteroid 2024 GT2: It will fly past Earth at a distance of 8,77,000 km. It’s 37 feet wide (bus size) and belongs to the Apollo group.

3. Asteroid 2024 FP3: It will fly past Earth at a distance of 10,20,000 km. It’s 68 feet wide (aeroplane size) and belongs to the Apollo group.

4. Asteroid 2021 GQ5: It will fly past Earth at a distance of 33,70,000 km. It’s 22 feet wide (bus size) and belongs to the Aten group.

5. Asteroid 2021 GE3: It will make a close approach to Earth at a distance of 38,10,000 km. It’s 69 feet wide (aeroplane size) and belongs to the Apollo group.

What are asteroids

Asteroids, sometimes called minor planets, are rocky remnants left over from the early formation of our solar system about 4.6 billion years ago, the NASA explained. Although asteroids orbit the sun like planets, they are much smaller than planets.

Should we worry about asteroids hitting Earth?

There are no known impact threats. Tiny meteors burn up in Earth’s atmosphere all the time. The NASA explained that the majority of near-Earth objects have orbits that don’t bring them very close to Earth, and therefore pose no risk of impact.

However, a small fraction of them – called potentially hazardous asteroids – need more attention. “These objects are defined as asteroids that are more than about 460 feet (140 meters) in size with orbits that bring them as close as within 4.6 million miles (7.5 million kilometres) of Earth’s orbit around the Sun,” it said.

“The asteroids capable of causing a global disaster if they hit the Earth are extremely rare. They probably would need to be about a kilometre or more in diameter. Such bodies impact the Earth only once every 100,000 years on average. Other objects of a similar size, such as comets, impact even less frequently, perhaps once every 500,000 years or so,” it added further.


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Published: 13 Apr 2024, 08:22 PM IST


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