KEY POINTS

  • NASA is tracking five asteroids that will fly past Earth this week 
  • Four of the approaching asteroids will fly past Earth on Friday
  • The biggest asteroid in the group measures over 150 feet wide

NASA’s automated asteroid tracking system is monitoring five space rocks that will fly past Earth this week. Four of the approaching asteroids will enter Earth’s vicinity on the same day.

According to NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), the first asteroid that will visit Earth’s neighborhood is known as 2018 PY7. It has an estimated diameter of 85 feet and is currently traveling across space toward Earth at a speed of over 21,000 miles per hour.

Trailing behind 2018 PY7 is an asteroid identified as 2007 RF1. CNEOS noted that this asteroid measures about 118 feet. It is moving toward the planet at an average velocity of 11,000 miles per hour.

The third asteroid that’s set to fly past Earth this week is called 2020 OC1. According to CNEOS, this asteroid, which has an estimated diameter of 98 feet, will fly past the planet at a speed of almost 9,000 miles per hour.

Closely following 2020 OC1 is the space rock known as 2020 OT4. Like 2020 OC1, 2020 OT4 measures about 98 feet wide. It is moving toward Earth at a velocity of almost 10,000 miles per hour.

All four asteroids will approach Earth on Friday. 2019 PY7 will make its debut at 1:32 a.m. EDT. During this time, it will be about 0.02277 astronomical units or 2.1 million miles from the planet’s center. 2007 RF1, on the other hand, will fly past Earth at 4:03 a.m. EDT from about 0.02735 astronomical units or 2.5 million miles away.

As for 2020 OC1, this asteroid will carry out its near-Earth approach on the same day at 8:38 a.m. EDT. It will be about 0.02457 astronomical units or 2.3 million miles from the planet during its approach. This asteroid’s visit will then be followed by the arrival of 2020 OT4, which will approach Earth at 10:06 a.m. EDT from a distance of 0.03092 astronomical units or about 2.9 million miles away.

The last asteroid that will fly past Earth this week is known as 2020 OO2. As indicated in CNEOS’ database, 2020 OO2 is the biggest asteroid that will enter Earth’s neighborhood this week. It has an estimated diameter of 157 feet.

2020 OO2 will fly past Earth on Saturday at 1:10 a.m. EDT at a speed of over 17,000 miles per hour. During this time, the asteroid will be about 0.03815 astronomical units or about 3.5 million miles away.

asteroids_passing_earth Over 17,000 near-Earth asteroids remain undetected in our solar neighborhood. Pictured; an artistic illustration of an asteroid flying by Earth. Photo: NASA