• NASA detected two asteroids approaching Earth
  • Both asteroids will fly past Earth on May 15
  • The approaching asteroids have Earth-crossing orbits

NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) has detected two asteroids that are currently approaching Earth. Based on the data collected by the agency, the two approaching asteroids will intersect Earth’s path on Friday (May 15).

The first asteroid that will fly past Earth tomorrow has been identified by CNEOS as 2012 UV136. As noted by the agency, this asteroid has an estimated diameter of 154 feet. It is currently traveling across space at an average speed of almost 8,000 miles per hour.

2012 UV136 was first discovered on Oct. 22, 2012. After studying its trajectory, NASA learned that its orbit extends up to the plane between Mars and Earth. Occasionally, this asteroid intersects Earth’s orbit as it goes around the Sun. Due to its Earth-crossing orbit, this asteroid has been labeled as a member of the Apollo family of space rocks.

According to CNEOS, 2012 UV136’s next near-Earth intersection is expected to take place at 8:56 a.m. EDT. As it crosses Earth’s path, the asteroid will be about 0.02173 astronomical units or roughly 2 million miles from the planet’s center.

2012 UV136 is not expected to return to Earth’s vicinity until May 18, 2021. During this time, the asteroid will fly past the planet from a distance of 0.040446 astronomical units or 3.8 million miles away.

Trailing behind 2012 UV136 is an asteroid known as 2020 HA9. According to CNEOS, this space rock measures about 197 feet wide. It is currently moving towards Earth at an average velocity of over 35,000 miles per hour.

This asteroid was first observed on April 27. According to NASA’s orbit projection, 2020 HA9 follows an elongated around the Sun that extends beyond Mars’ trajectory. Like 2012 UV136, 2020 HA9 is also an Apollo asteroid, which means it crosses Earth’s orbit from time to time.

Aside from Earth, 2020 HA9 also intersects the orbits of Mars and Venus.

CNEOS noted that 2020 HA9 would traverse Earth’s path at 5:46 p.m. EDT. During this time, the asteroid will zip past the planet from 0.04665 astronomical units or 4.3 million miles away.

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