scorecardTwo asteroids bigger than the Japan tsunamis are coming eerily close to Earth today
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Two asteroids bigger than the Japan tsunamis are coming eerily close to Earth today

Two asteroids bigger than the Japan tsunamis are coming eerily close to Earth today
LifeScience2 min read

  • In a rare event, two asteroids are going to whiz past Earth within hours of each other.
  • They’re not the biggest objects on the Asteroid Watch List but they’re two of the closest asteroids to pass by the planet.
  • Asteroid 2019 OU1 will be a mere 1 million kilometers from the Earth’s core as it flies past Earth.
Asteroids whiz past Earth on a regular basis but it’s rare to see two of them gunning for the planet on the same day.

2019 QS will be the first asteroid to make an appearance today and it’s around the same size as Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio De Janeiro or the Japan Tsunamis that stretched to 40 meters high.

It will be followed by another asteroid dubbed 2019 OU1, which is over twice the size of its partner — making it almost as big as a football field at 98 meters.

Both of them are going to flying past Earth within a couple of hours of each other.

Neither of these two asteroids are as huge some others which are going to fly past the planet this year. But, they’re still on National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Asteroid Watch List of Near Earth Objects (NEOs) that could pose a risk to the planet.

That’s because they’re going to be flying in particularly close.

It’s about the distance

Most asteroids, regardless of size, are normally at least 3 million kilometers to the Earth’s core as they fly past.

But 2019 QS, on the other hand, will come as close as 2 million kilometers. And, 2019 OU1 will be even closer — merely 1 million kilometers away.

According to NASA’s Asteroid Watch, any NEO that’s within 7.5 million kilometers of Earth could be ‘potentially hazardous’.

When space objects fly this close to the Earth, if external or internal factors were to change their trajectory even to a small degree — they could collide with the planet.

The Yarkovsky effect, for instance, is the simple result of sunlight pushing an asteroid and changing the way that it rotates. A gravitational keyhole — gravity from other objects or planets in space — is another factor that could cause asteroids to change direction.

The bigger the asteroid, the bigger the risk — like the asteroid that nearly half the size of Mount Everest and might be on a collision course for Earth in less than a year.

See also:
What happens when an asteroid actually hits Earth

An asteroid only turns into a meteor if it falls to Earth

The last major asteroid to hit Earth destroyed 500 square kilometers — and it could have been much worse

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