NASA shares info on two asteroids making their closest passes this year. Learn about their speed, size, and how close they’ll get to Earth.
Asteroids are ancient space rocks, remnants from the early days of our solar system, which formed about 4.6 billion years ago. These rocky bodies follow paths around the Sun, many residing in the asteroid belt located between Jupiter and Mars. Sometimes, these asteroids come closer to Earth in what scientists call a ‘Close approach.’ NASA employs a range of space and ground-based telescopes to locate and monitor these space rocks. Thanks to this advanced technology, NASA has informed us that not one, but two asteroids will have an exceptionally close encounter with our planet today, on November 7. Let’s dive into the details.
1. Asteroid 2023 VB2
This space rock is currently journeying through space at an impressive speed of nearly 64,884 kilometers per hour, which is similar to the velocity of a space shuttle. According to NASA, this space traveler, known as Asteroid 2023 VB2, will come remarkably close to Earth at a distance of only 32,800 kilometers. To put this into perspective, it’s about one-tenth the distance from Earth to the Moon, which is approximately 384,400 kilometers away. This close approach will make it one of the nearest encounters with an asteroid we’ll witness this year.
Asteroid 2023 VB2 belongs to a category known as the Apollo group of Near-Earth Asteroids. These are asteroids that intersect Earth’s path and have semi-major axes larger than Earth’s. They are named after the large 1862 Apollo asteroid, discovered in the 1930s by the German astronomer Karl Reinmuth.
In terms of size, this asteroid measures approximately 25 feet across, which is comparable to the dimensions of a typical car.
2. Asteroid 2023 VD2
According to the information available, there is another asteroid known as Asteroid VD2 that will come close to Earth at a distance of roughly 56,200 kilometers. This distance is about six times nearer to Earth than the Moon. This space rock is zooming through space at a speed of 29,204 kilometers per hour.
Like its celestial companion, Asteroid VD2 also falls into the Apollo group of Near-Earth Asteroids, indicating it crosses Earth’s path. In terms of size, it’s quite petite, measuring only about 11 feet in width, which is roughly the size of a regular car.
It’s noteworthy that these two near-Earth asteroid encounters are just a couple of the six that are anticipated to pass by Earth at close proximity today. Fortunately, there’s no cause for concern as none of them are expected to collide with our planet.