An asteroid, which could be almost 600 feet wide, will fly past Earth on Saturday and pass us at a speed of more than 29,000 miles per hour.
The asteroid, designated 2020 TY1, was first discovered in October. It is expected to fly past at a distance of about 3.5 million miles, which is about 14 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon and therefore poses no danger to our planet.
It is one of the largest asteroids to have passed Earth in recent weeks, and the last asteroid of similar size passed on October 22. The space rock is estimated to be between 260 and 590 feet wide, which is about the same size as the Great Pyramid of Giza, which is 455 feet high.
Despite passing the Earth by millions of miles, in 2020 TY1 is considered a Near-Earth Object (NEO). NASA is tracking the orbits of these objects to support the Agency’s Planetary Defense Department. This initiative enables NASA to detect and track potentially dangerous objects – defined as anything within a five million mile radius of Earth and over 100 feet wide. An object this size or larger has the potential to cause significant damage on Earth, NASA says.
On November 2, an asteroid came incredibly close to Earth in astronomical terms, passing within a distance of about 4,000 miles. Before it approached Earth, astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson said the asteroid, 2018 VP1, would “cut through” Earth. “It is not big enough to do any damage,” he wrote, “so if the world ends in 2020, it is not the universe’s fault.
This asteroid, which was up to 12 feet wide, came closest to Earth in the past 12 months according to data from NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS).
Another asteroid will also pass Earth on Saturday, with the object designated 2019 XS passing us at a distance of about 3.4 million miles. This object is estimated to have a width of up to 280 feet.
At the end of the month, a huge asteroid will approach the Earth. The object, designated 2000 WO107, is up to 2,690 feet wide. It will fly past the Earth on November 29th – exactly 20 years after its discovery. It is expected that 2000 WO107 will fly past at a minimum distance of 2.7 million miles and travel at a speed of about 56,000 miles per hour.