NASA is currently tracking an asteroid that’s expected to approach Earth on Tuesday. According to the agency’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), the incoming asteroid is almost as big as the Chicago Water Tower.

The approaching asteroid has been identified by CNEOS as 2019 RH. According to CNEOS, 2019 RH is a near-Earth object. This means the asteroid has been pulled into a trajectory path that passes near the planet.

“Near-Earth objects are comets and asteroids that have been nudged by the gravitational attraction of nearby planets into orbits that allow them to enter Earth’s neighborhood,” CNEOS stated.

“Composed mostly of water ice with embedded dust particles, comets originally formed in the cold outer planetary system while most of the rocky asteroids formed in the warmer inner solar system between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter,” the agency added.

As indicated in CNEOS’ database, 2019 RH is currently traveling at a speed of almost 38,000 miles per hour. It is estimated to have a diameter of about 125 feet. Due to its size, this asteroid will most likely not hit Earth’s surface if it breaches the atmosphere. Instead, it will probably detonate in the air and cause a very bright explosion.

2019 RH is expected to make its approach on Earth on Sept. 10 at 4:41 am EDT. During this time, the asteroid will be about 0.01787 astronomical units or roughly 1.7 million miles from the planet's center.

CNEOS classified 2019 RH as an Apollo asteroid. Like other asteroids that belong to this family, 2019 RH has a very wide orbit that takes it around the Earth and the Sun. Occasionally, the asteroid’s orbit intersects with that of Earth as the planet travels around the massive star.

2019 RH was first observed on Sept. 4. Aside from Earth, the asteroid is also known to approach other planets such as Mars and Venus. Its next near-Earth approach is expected to take place on Sept. 7, 2020. During this time, the asteroid is expected to be about 0.26621 astronomical units or roughly 25 million miles away from the planet’s center.

Pictured; an artistic illustration of an asteroid flying by Earth. NASA