A 2.7-Mile-Wide Asteroid to Pass by Earth on 1 September
This coming Labor Day weekend is set to get off to a stellar start when a 2.7-mile-wide asteroid has a “relatively close encounter” with Earth Friday, 1 September, according to NASA officials.
The asteroid, named Florence, will be the largest to pass this close to Earth since NASA began keeping track of near-Earth objects (NEO).
Its trajectory will place it 4.4-M miles from our Planet, roughly 18X the distance between Earth and the Moon.
“While many known asteroids have passed by closer to Earth than Florence will on Sept. 1, all of those were estimated to be smaller,” said Paul Chodas, manager of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
“Florence is the largest asteroid to pass by our planet this close since the NASA program to detect and track near-Earth asteroids began,” he added.
The asteroid will be visible even using small telescopes beginning in late August and offers scientists the opportunity to study up close details as small as 30 feet.
The asteroid is named after 19th Century statistician and nurse Florence Nightingale and was 1st spotted in Y 1981.
When it passes Earth, it will be the closest since Y 1890, and the giant rock will not come this close again until Y 2500.
NASA announced earlier this month an asteroid called 2012 TC4 that’s roughly the size of a house will pass near Earth in early October. Though it will fly inside the Moon’s orbit, it will miss geostationary satellites.
Have a terrific weekend.