• NASA spotted three asteroids approaching Earth
  • All three asteroids follow Earth-crossing paths
  • One of the asteroids will approach Earth from a dangerous distance

NASA is currently monitoring three asteroids that are currently headed for Earth. According to the agency, all three asteroids have natural orbits that intersect the Earth’s path.

The first asteroid that will approach Earth has been identified by the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) as 2019 TF2. This asteroid is currently moving towards Earth at a speed of about 3,500 miles per hour. CNEOS estimated that 2019 TF2 is about 102 feet wide.

The second asteroid that’s expected to visit Earth’s vicinity is known as 2020 BB1. It has an estimated diameter of about 46 feet. According to CNEOS, 2020 BB1 is traveling across space at an average velocity of over 25,000 miles per hour.

Closely following 2020 BB1 is an asteroid called 2018 BM5. As indicated in CNEOS’ database, this asteroid is currently traveling at speeds of over 19,000 miles per hour. The agency estimated that it has a diameter of around 69 feet.

Both 2020 BB1 and 2019 TF2 are classified as Apollo asteroids. This means that they follow very wide orbits within the Solar System. 2018 BM5, on the other hand, is an Aten asteroid. Unlike Apollos, Atens generally follow a narrower orbit. These two asteroid groups are known to intersect Earth’s path as the planet makes its way around the Sun.

According to CNEOS, 2019 TF2 is expected to fly past Earth on Jan. 22 at 10:13 p.m. EST. During this time, the asteroid will be about 0.04158 astronomical units or roughly 3.9 million miles from the planet’s center.

2020 BB1, on the other hand, will approach Earth on Jan. 23 at 3:39 a.m. EST. Out of the three approaching asteroids, 2020 BB1 will fly past Earth from the closest distance. According to CNEOS, the incoming asteroid will only be about 0.00659 astronomical units or around 613,000 miles from the planet during its upcoming flyby.

As for 2018 BM5, CNEOS noted that this asteroid will visit Earth’s neighborhood on Jan. 23 at 6:15 p.m. EST. During its approach, the asteroid will be about 0.03359 astronomical units from the planet, which is equivalent to around 3.1 million miles away.

This artist's animation illustrates a massive asteroid belt in orbit around a star the same age and size as our Sun. NASA/JPL-Caltech