A huge asteroid, deemed 'potentially hazardous,' will fly by Earth in the coming week. However, there is no chance of it clashing with our planet.
According to FOX News, the fast-approaching asteroid is "wider than two professional football fields. It's estimated diameter is 53 meters to 120 meters. Known as 2020 QL2, the space object is expected to fly past Earth on Monday, Sept. 14 at a speed of nearly 24,000 mph. At it closes approach, it will be within a distance of 4.2 million miles of earth, which in astronomical numbers is not very far.
NASA classifies 2020 QL2 as an Apollo class asteroid. The Apollo asteroids are a group of near-Earth asteroids that were named after 1862 Apollo and have orbital semi-major axis greater than that of the Earth (> 1 AU). It is the largest group of asteroids.
As per the report, it is also considered a "potentially hazardous" space rock due to its "size and close proximity to Earth." However, it is made clear that the asteroid poses no threat of collision with our planet.
This happens to be one of the many Near-Earth Objects that are scheduled to come closer to our planet this month as noted by NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies. As per the list, there are about 10 near-Earth objects crossing our planet in September.
While most of them are small space rocks, the other two major ones are the 2014 QJ33 and 2020 RO. It is mentioned that 2014 QJ33 is approximately 48 m - 110 m in diameter. As for 2020 RO, it is 57 meters to 130 meters in diameter. Both the asteroids belong to Apollo near-Earth objects.
NASA defines asteroids as "rocky objects" that orbit around the Sun. They are also referred to as minor planets. However, they are only remains left behind in the space during the formation process. There are about 994,412 known asteroids so far. They are of different sizes, ranging between 329 miles in diameter to less than 33 feet.