KEY POINTS

  • Four asteroids will approach Earth this weekend
  • The fastest asteroid in the group traveling at a speed of over 47,000 miles per hour
  • All four asteroids have natural orbits that intersect Earth's path

NASA has detected a total of four mid-sized asteroids that will approach Earth this weekend. According to the agency’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, the approaching asteroids follow Earth-crossing orbits.

The first asteroid that will visit Earth’s neighborhood this weekend has been identified as 2020 BL8. According to CNEOS, this asteroid has an estimated diameter of 138 feet. It is currently traveling across space at an average speed of about 7,000 miles per hour.

2020 BL8 is expected to approach Earth on Feb. 8 at 12:37 am EST. During this time, the asteroid will zip past the planet from a distance of 0.01692 astronomical units or roughly 1.6 million miles away.

Trailing behind 2020 BL8 is a 253-foot wide asteroid known as 2020 BQ11. Out of the four asteroids approaching this weekend, 2020 BQ11 is the fastest and largest in the group. According to CNEOS, this asteroid is currently moving towards Earth at a velocity of over 47,000 miles per hour.

The agency noted that this asteroid will fly past Earth on Feb. 8 at 12:06 pm EST from a distance of about 0.03614 astronomical units, which is equivalent to 3.4 million miles away.

The third asteroid approaching Earth is called 2020 BW5. This asteroid measures about 102 feet and is traveling through the Solar System at a speed of over 20,000 miles per hour.

According to CNEOS, 2020 BW5 will make its debut in Earth’s vicinity on Feb. 9 at 3:41 pm EST. During its approach, the asteroid will be about 0.01324 astronomical units or 1.2 million miles from the planet’s center.

The last asteroid that will fly past Earth this weekend is known as 2020 BK10. As indicated in CNEOS’ database, this asteroid has an estimated diameter of about 114 feet. It is flying towards Earth at a velocity of almost 26,000 miles per hour.

Compared to the other asteroids arriving this weekend, 2020 BK10 will approach Earth from the closest distance. CNEOS noted that this asteroid will zip past Earth on Feb. 9 at 7:31 pm EST from a distance of 0.00489 astronomical units or around 455,000 miles away.

All four asteroids are categorized as Apollos. This means they follow natural orbits that intersect the Earth’s path as the planet travels around the Sun.

Asteroid Image: Artist illustration of an asteroid heading for the Earth Photo: Pixabay