A New Year’s asteroid wider than Big Ben is tall is due to burn through the Earth’s atmosphere in January as NASA labelled the huge piece of space rock a “potentially hazardous object”. Asteroid 2013 YD48 is the size of a skyscraper and is due to crash into the atmosphere on the 11th of next month.
The New Year will start off with a bang as the 104-metre wide rock passes within 3.84million miles of Earth. The distance may seem to be soothingly large but in terms of distance in space, it actually isn’t that much. NASA classifies anything that passes within 120million miles of Earth as a Near-Earth Object (NEO).
Also, due to the far-reaching distances that come from to begin with, tiny changes to their trajectories could be incredibly dangerous, even fatal, for Earth. Scientists who specialise in space objects track the journeys of thousands of these projectiles to see whether they are on a collision course with Earth or not, and the bad news is that the New Year’s asteroid is not the only thing set to come close to Earth in the coming weeks.
There are three more asteroids that are coming close by the Earth before 2013 YD48 gets here. The 2021 YK, which measure 12m wide, will fly within 118,000 miles of Earth this Sunday 2 January, reports The Mirror.
The 2014 YE15 which is a tiny 7m wide will pass by at 4.6 million miles distance on 6 January, then 2020 AP1 will come within 1.08 million miles of the planet, but is only 4m across. As you can see, it isn’t an uncommon occurrence for space rocks to come close by, but the New Year’s asteroid is a big one and worth tracking!
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