NASA is tracking a total of five asteroids that are currently headed for Earth. One of the approaching asteroids is big enough to wipe out an entire city if it hits the planet.
According to NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), the first asteroid that will approach Earth is called as 523934 (1998 FF14). The agency noted that the asteroid is currently traveling at a speed of almost 50,000 miles per hour. It has an estimated diameter of about 1,410 feet, making it significantly bigger than the Empire State building.
Given the asteroid’s enormous size, it can cause significant damage if it hits Earth. Unlike smaller asteroids that usually explode mid-air, 523934 (1998 FF14) will most likely go through Earth’s atmosphere and cause a massive impact event. If the asteroid hits the planet, it can create a crater that’s about a few miles wide and level an area as big as a city.
According to CNEOS, the asteroid will approach Earth on Sept. 24 at 3:27 a.m. EDT. During this time, the asteroid will be about 0.02780 astronomical units or roughly 2.6 million miles away.
The second asteroid that will fly past Earth is called 2019 SW1. According to CNEOS, this asteroid is currently moving at a speed of 28,300 miles per hour and has an estimated diameter of 69 feet.
CNEOS predicted that 2019 SW1 will approach Earth on Sept. 24 at 6:52 a.m. EDT. During this time, the asteroid will only be about 0.00769 astronomical units or roughly 714,830 miles from the planet, which is about thrice the distance between the planet and the Moon.
Trailing behind 2019 SW1 is an asteroid known as 2019 QY3. This asteroid has a velocity of 18,700 miles per hour and an estimated diameter of 217 feet.
According to CNEOS, 2019 QY3 will zip past Earth on Sept. 26 at 3:35 a.m. EDT. Its closest distance to Earth during its approach will be 0.03566 astronomical units or about 3.3 million miles away.
The fourth asteroid that’s expected to approach Earth is called 2017 KP27. This asteroid is traveling at an estimated velocity of about 10,500 miles per hour. According to CNEOS, this asteroid is about 135 feet long.
2017 KP27 is expected to skim Earth Sept. 26 at 3:36 p.m. EDT. During this time, the asteroid will be about 0.01084 astronomical units or roughly 1 million miles from the planet’s center.
The last asteroid that’s expected to fly past Earth this week is called 2006 QV89. Flying at a speed of 9,200 miles per hour, CNEOS noted that this asteroid is about 170 feet long.
The agency expects the asteroid to approach Earth on Sept. 26 at 11:54 p.m. EDT. During this time, it will be about 0.04631 astronomical units or around 4.3 million miles from Earth.