There have been many instances of asteroids passing by Earth in the last few weeks. Just yesterday, a 45 feet wide asteroid flew past the planet at a distance of approximately 3 million kilometers. Due to such close calls with asteroids, NASA, ESA, and other space agencies have developed technology to track these space rocks in their orbits, and even deflect them in case a potential impact scenario develops. Using its tech, NASA has now shed light on an asteroid that is expected to pass Earth today, January 23. Know all about this close approach.
Asteroid 2021 BL3: Speed, size, distance, and more
As per the details issued by NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), the asteroid has been designated as Asteroid 2021 BL3. Asteroid 2021 BL3 is expected to pass Earth at a distance of approximately 6.6 million kilometers today. It is already travelling towards Earth in its orbit at 84220 kilometers per hour which is even faster than most space shuttles!
This space rock belongs to the Apollo group of Near-Earth Asteroids, which are Earth-crossing space rocks with semi-major axes larger than Earth’s. These asteroids are named after the humongous 1862 Apollo asteroid, discovered by German astronomer Karl Reinmuth in the 1930s.
According to NASA, this is not the first time that Asteroid 2021 BL3 has come close to Earth. It first passed the planet on February 17, 1979, at a distance of approximately 74 million kilometers. After today, it will pass the planet at a distance of 24 million kilometers on January 20, 2027.
How big is it?
Asteroid 2021 BL3 is almost the size of a massive aircraft, with a width of nearly 130 feet! However, it has been deemed non-threatening and has not been classified as a Potentially Hazardous Object, meaning that it does not pose a danger to Earth.
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