KEY POINTS

  • NASA's asteroid tracking system detected five space rocks approaching this weekend
  • The biggest asteroid in the group is over 600 feet wide
  • All asteroids will approach Earth from a distance of millions of miles away

NASA has warned that a total of five massive asteroids will approach Earth this weekend. According to the agency, the biggest asteroid in the group is larger than the Washington Monument.

The first asteroid that will fly close to Earth on Saturday has been identified by NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) as 2020 AH1. This asteroid is currently moving at an average speed of almost 18,000 miles per hour. CNEOS estimated that this asteroid is about 246 feet wide.

Trailing behind 2020 AH1 is an asteroid known as 2009 BH2. According to CNEOS, this asteroid measures about 656 feet wide, making it the largest space rock in the group. 2009 BH2 is currently flying towards Earth at a velocity of 40,000 miles per hour.

The last asteroid that will visit Earth’s vicinity on Saturday is called 2020 AQ3. It is traveling at a speed of about 28,000 miles per hour and has an estimated diameter of 360 feet.

All three asteroids will fly near Earth on Jan. 18. 2020 AH1 will arrive at 7:30 a.m. EST. It will approach the planet from a distance of 0.04048 astronomical units or roughly 3.8 million miles away. 2009 BH2, on the other hand, will fly past Earth from a distance of 0.03749 astronomical units or 3.5 million miles away.

As for 2020 AQ3, this asteroid will arrive at 4:07 p.m. EST. During this time, the asteroid will be about 0.04339 astronomical units or around 4 million miles from the planet’s center.

On Sunday, Earth will be visited by two asteroids. The first one is called 2020 AM3. It has a diameter of about 200 feet and is moving at a speed of 39,000 miles per hour.

This will be followed by the arrival of 2019 YA5. According to CNEOS, this asteroid is flying at a speed of almost 12,000 miles per hour and is about 124 feet wide.

2020 AM3 will approach Earth on Jan. 19 at 1:29 a.m. EST from a distance of 0.01911 astronomical units or about 1.8 million miles away. 2019 YA5, on the other hand, will fly past Earth at 5:50 p.m. EST at 0.03000 astronomical units or 2.8 million miles away.

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