Asteroid 2011 ES4 to make closest approach to Earth on Sep 1

Katie Ramirez
September 3, 2020

Astronomer Lance Benner, an asteroid expert from NASA/JPL, told EarthSky: "Uncertainty indicates that it could miss Earth by 0.08 au, which is much, much more than one Earth-moon distance".

An asteroid about 50 % the size of an Olympic swimming pool will quickly pass by Earth at a "close" length of all over 120,000km.

Currently, NASA is tracking around 2,000 asteroids and comets, which are 90% of rocks that can be a threat to the Earth.

"Likewise, today's asteroids are the bits and pieces left over from the initial agglomeration of the inner planets that include Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars". It is being advised that exclusively an asteroid named 2032 db will go via this distance from Earth in 2032.

Asteroid 2011 ES4 will be "at least" 45,000 miles away from the Earth when it flies by, NASA Asteroid Watch said in a tweet.

Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) are now defined based on parameters that measure the asteroid's potential to make threatening close approaches to the Earth.

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Image of two different asteroids captured by NASA.

NASA also revealed it will be travelling at a staggering speed of 8.2 kilometres per second - or 29,500 kilometres per hour.

The last time asteroid 2011 ES4 flew by Earth, it was visible from ground for four days, according to the Weather Channel.

Another asteroid, 2018 VP1, is set to make a close approach in November, just a day before the US presidential elections.

The asteroid is 20 metre wide and even if it gets on the impact trajectory, it will be destroyed in the atmosphere before touching the surface.

The satellite is over half a century old (56 years, to be more precise), and it had the mission to study the effects of the Sun upon the Earth's magnetic field. The gear will soon crash towards Earth and be disintegrated in the atmosphere due to air friction.

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