Five asteroids are set to fly past the planet today — two of them are bigger than the Eiffel Tower
- Five asteroids are set to make a close approach to Earth today, on January 6.
- Two of the asteroids — 2016 CO247 and 2008 AF4 — are bigger than the Eiffel Tower.
- Even the smallest of the five asteroids, 2021 AJ, is travelling fast enough to release as much energy as the Hiroshima bomb blast if it were to crash into the planet.
Three of the asteroids are relatively small and pose a smaller threat to the planet if they were headed straight for it. However, the other two are bigger than the Eiffel Tower.
The bigger of the two, 2008 AF4, is nearly half a kilometre wide. If it were to crash into the planet, the resulting impact would be the equivalent of 25 megatons to 50 megatons, the same as the largest nuclear bombs in existence today.
AdvertisementAsteroids that will make a close approach to Earth on January 6:
|Asteroid||Time (GMT)||Average diameter||Speed (kilometres per hour)|
|2021 AC||03:27||73.5 metres||50,652 kmph|
|2016 CO247||04:09||340 metres||60,228 kmph|
|2021 AJ||11:38||19.5 metres||45,648 kmph|
|2018 KP1||13:21||41 metres||15,948 kmph|
|332446 (2008 AF4)||21:52||495 metres||39,564 kmph|
While size certainly matters when it comes to determining whether or not an asteroid poses an imminent threat, it’s speed can greatly alter the level of risk.
All it would take is an asteroid that’s as big as a house travelling at 48,000 kilometres per hour to release as much energy as the Hiroshima bomb blast.
This means that even though Asteroid 2021 AJ is the smallest among those set to zoom by Earth on January 6, it’s still fast enough to obliterate an entire city if its trajectory changes.
According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), none of these asteroids — big or small — are an immediate threat. They are being tracked because they’re either closer to Earth than 7.5 million kilometres, which is 19.5 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon, or because they’re bigger than 150 metres.
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