The 10 biggest asteroids that pose a threat to Earth in 2020
- 2020 will see a massive four-kilometre wide
Asteroid52768 (1998 OR2) make its approach towards Earth in April.
- Another kilometre sized space rock, Asteroid 136795 (1997 BQ), will be flying past the planet in May.
- Here’s a full list of the biggest asteroids that will be whizzing past Earth in 2020.
AdvertisementThere are swarms of millions of asteroids in the Solar System. Most of them keep to themselves as they orbit the Sun between Mars and Jupiter. But, a subset of these asteroids, have orbits that come in a little too close and cross the orbit of Earth around the Sun.
Not many pose a threat — but some astronomers think it’s only a matter of time before one of those little rocky worlds will crash into the planet.
"No human in the past 1000 years is known to have been killed by a meteorite or by the effects of one impacting," according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration ( NASA).
While the Center of Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) and the Near-Earth Object Coordination Center (NEOCC) claim that their detection methods are full-proof, that may not always be true. Asteroid 2019 OK wasn’t even on any of the detection radars when it passed a mere 73,000 kilometres from Earth on 26 July 2019.
History shows us that there have been a few close calls. In 2013, the Chelyabinsk meteor streaked through the Russian skies and exploded only 30 kilometres from the surface. Though it wasn’t a direct impact, the force of 444,000 tons of TNT damaged buildings for 500 kilometres.
Here are the ten biggest asteroids set to approach the Earth in 2020:
The biggest asteroid to fly past the planet in 2020 will be the massive four-kilometre wide 52768 (1998 OR2) at 31,320 kilometres per hour (kph).
Asteroid 136795 (1997 BQ) comes in second but it’s still a kilometre wide. It’s also faster at 42,048 kph and will be flying marginally closer to Earth than 52768 (1998 OR2).Advertisement
Only a few meters short of being a kilometre wide, Asteroid 163373 (2002 PZ39) will be third biggest asteroid to approach Earth on 15 February 2020 — one day after the world’s Valentine’s celebrations.
Not only is Asteroid 153201 (2000 WO107) one of the biggest space rocks to shoot past Earth in 2020 but it’s also one of the fastest. The asteroid will be going at 90,252 kph at it makes its approach on 29 November.Advertisement
Asteroid 163348 (2002 NN4) is scheduled to streak past Earth on 6 June 2020 at 40,140 kph.
Asteroid (2019 UO) will be the first asteroid to visit Earth in 2020 on the top 10 list. It’s scheduled to past the planet on 10 January at 33,840 kph.Advertisement
Coming in for a summer visit, Asteroid 388945 (2008 TZ3) will zoom past Earth on 10 May 2020. The half-a-kilometre wide space rock will be fleeting at 31,608 kph.
The month of May will be rocked by another visitor, Asteroid 438908 (2009 XO). Even though it’s smaller, the asteroid will be flying past three days prior to Asteroid 388945 (2008 TZ3). It will also be moving significantly faster at 46,008 kph.Advertisement
Asteroid (2012 XA133) will be the ninth-largest space rock to hurtle past the planet in 2020. Even though it will be a good distance away, the asteroid will be travelling at an impressively 85,212 kph.
Just one day before Easter, Asteroid 363599 (2004 FG11) will be making its approach to Earth at 88,164 kph on 11 April 2020.Advertisement
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