An asteroid bigger than London’s Big Ben clock tower is expected to fly by Earth tonight. According to NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), the giant asteroid was first observed approaching the planet on May 26.

Details of the asteroid, identified as 2019 LA, indicate that it has a maximum diameter of about 360 feet, making it almost 50 feet taller than the famous clock tower in London.

NASA predicted that the asteroid will zip past Earth on June 7 at 9:40 pm BST or 4:40 pm ET. As it passes by, it will have an estimated speed of almost 50,000 miles per hour.

2019 LA is expected to approach Earth at 0.03556 astronomical units, which is roughly equivalent to 3.3 million miles.

Interestingly, 2019 LA will only be the first of two asteroids that will closely fly by Earth today. The second asteroid that’s currently on a near-collision path with the planet is called 2019 KZ3.

First observed on May 25, 2019, KZ3 is smaller than the first asteroid at 282 feet. Despite being the smaller one, 2019 KZ3 can still cause significant damage to Earth if it makes a direct hit on the planet.

According to the CNEOS database, the asteroid is expected to approach Earth on June 7 at 10:45 pm BST or 5:45 pm ET. 2019 KZ3 will have a speed of about 22,000 miles per hour as it flies past Earth.

Although 2019 KZ3 is smaller than 2019 LA, it will zoom past Earth at a much closer distance. NASA predicted that once the asteroid makes its approach to Earth, it will only be about 0.1450 astronomical units away, or around 1.3 million miles.

2019 KZ3 and 2019 LA are both categorized as near-Earth objects. According to NASA, this classification is given to any small object that flies near Earth. However, if the space agency detects an object on a near-collision path with Earth and has a diameter over 460 feet, it will be labeled as a potentially hazardous object.

Currently, NASA monitors over 20,000 known near-Earth objects through its database.

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