NASA is monitoring three asteroids that are currently headed for Earth. According to the agency’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), the biggest asteroid from the group is almost as long as the wingspan of a Boeing 747 plane.

The first asteroid that will fly past Earth has been identified as 2019 QZ3. As indicated in CNEOS’ database, this asteroid is currently moving at a speed of 16,700 miles per hour. It has been estimated to have a diameter of 220 feet.

CNEOS predicted that the asteroid will approach Earth on Sept. 9 at 6:49 am EDT. During this time, the asteroid will be about 0.02490 astronomical units or roughly 2.3 million miles away.

The second asteroid that CNEOS is currently monitoring is called 2019 RG2. According to CNEOS, this asteroid is traveling at a velocity of almost 50,000 miles per hour and is about 66 feet long.

2019 RG2 is expected to visit Earth’s neighborhood on Sept. 9 at 3:13 pm EDT. During its approach, the asteroid will be about 0.00350 astronomical units or around 325,000 miles from the planet’s center. This means the asteroid will just be a little farther than the distance between the Earth and the Moon.

Trailing behind 2019 RG2 is the asteroid known as 2019 QY4. CNEOS noted that this asteroid is currently moving at a speed of 17,380 miles per hour. It has an estimated diameter of about 52 feet.

According to CNEOS, 2019 QY4 will fly past Earth on Sept. 9 at 9:10 pm EDT. During its approach, the asteroid will be about 0.00641 astronomical units or roughly 596,000 miles from the Earth’s center.

All three asteroids have been classified by CNEOS as Apollo asteroids. Like other space rocks that belong to this family of asteroids, 2019 QZ3, 2019 RG2 and 2019 QY4 have very wide orbits that take them around the Earth and the Sun. From time to time, their orbits intersect with that of Earth as the planet goes around the massive star.  

Due to their close approaches to the planet, the three asteroids have been labeled as near-Earth objects (NEOs). According to CNEOS, NEOs are space rocks that have been nudged by the gravitational pull of nearby planets.

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