• Three asteroids with dangerous orbits will approach Earth on the weekend
  • The approaching asteroids follow orbits that intersect the path of Earth
  • The asteroids will not most likely not cause impact events on Earth

NASA warned that three asteroids with Earth-crossing orbits will approach the planet during the weekend. The biggest asteroid from the group is about as long as the wingspan of a Boeing 747 plane.

The first Earth-intersecting asteroid arriving on the weekend has been identified by NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) as 2019 YS2. According to the agency, this asteroid is currently moving towards Earth at a speed of almost 13,000 miles per hour. It has an estimated diameter of about 69 feet.

Trailing behind 2019 YS2 is an asteroid known as 2019 YX. CNEOS estimated that this asteroid is about 180 feet wide and is currently flying across space at speeds of up to 13,100 miles per hour.

The last asteroid that will visit Earth’s vicinity this weekend is called 2019 YT2. According to CNEOS, this asteroid is traveling at an average speed of almost 19,000 miles per hour and has an estimated diameter of about 220 feet.

All three approaching asteroids have been classified by NASA as members of the Apollo family of space rocks. Like other Apollo asteroids, 2019 YS2, 2019 YX and 2019 YT2 have very wide orbits within the Solar System. As they travel across space, they occasionally intersect the orbits of other planets such as Earth.

If these asteroids end up hitting the planet their Earth-intersections, none of them will most likely cause a major impact event due to their size and current speed. Instead, these asteroids will most likely cause powerful explosions in the atmosphere.

According to CNEOS, all three asteroids are expected to cross Earth’s orbit this weekend. As noted by the agency, 2019 YS2 will approach the planet on Dec. 28 at 7:09 p.m. EST. During this time, the asteroid will be about 0.00569 astronomical units or roughly 530,000 miles away from the planet’s center.

2019 YX, on the other hand, will fly past the planet on Dec. 29 at 5:49 p.m. EST from a distance of 0.04725 astronomical units or about 4.4 million miles away.

As for 2019 YT2, this asteroid will debut in Earth’s vicinity on Dec. 29 at 11:05 p.m. EST. It will approach the planet from a distance of 0.03629 astronomical units or around 3.4 million miles away.

Two Very Different Asteroids
Image of two different asteroids captured by NASA. NASA/JPL/JHUAPL