NASA noted that December will be kicked off by visits from two moderately-sized asteroids. According to the space agency, these two asteroids follow a natural orbit that intersects Earth’s path.

The first asteroid that will approach Earth has been identified by the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) as 2019 WH2. As indicated in CNEOS’ database, this asteroid is currently traveling across space at an average speed of 23,000 miles per hour. It has an estimated diameter of about 79 feet.

The second asteroid that will fly past Earth at the start of December is called 2019 WN1. According to CNEOS, this asteroid is currently moving toward Earth at a speed of about 22,000 miles per hour. The agency estimated that 2019 WN1 is about 98 feet wide.

Both 2019 WH2 and 2019 WN1 are classified as Apollo asteroids. Similar to the asteroids that belong to this group, 2019 WH2 and 2019 WN1 have very wide orbits that go around the Earth and the Sun. From time to time, their orbits intersect with that of Earth’s as the planet goes around the giant star.

The two asteroids’ Earth-crossing orbit suggest that they are capable of colliding with the planet. If this happens, they will most likely burn up in the atmosphere and explode in the sky instead of crashing to the ground.

However, this doesn’t mean that these asteroids are completely harmless. After all, they are more massive than the 66-foot asteroid that detonated over Russia in 2013. According to reports, the energy released by the explosion was equivalent to 30 atomic bombs. Although much of it was absorbed by the atmosphere, it was still powerful enough to damage about 7,000 buildings on the group.

Fortunately, the two asteroids are not in danger of hitting the planet during their upcoming approach. According to CNEOS, 2019 WH2 will approach Earth on Dec. 1 at 3:46 am EST from a distance of 0.00873 astronomical units or roughly 811,000 miles away.

2019 WN1, on the other hand, will visit Earth’s vicinity on Dec. 1 at 4:14 pm EST. During this time, the asteroid will be about 0.01095 astronomical units or about 1 million miles from the planet’s center.

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