KEY POINTS

  • NASA detected four asteroids approaching Earth
  • The biggest asteroid in the group measures 180 feet wide
  • All four asteroids will approach Earth this weekend

NASA’s automated asteroid tracking system has detected four near-Earth objects that are expected to approach the planet this weekend. According to the agency, the biggest asteroid in the group is about as big as the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy.

The first asteroid that will approach Earth this weekend has been identified by NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) as 2020 FK. As indicated in CNEOS’ database, this asteroid has an estimated diameter of about 43 feet, which makes it the smallest in the group.

CNEOS noted that this asteroid is currently traveling across space at a speed of over 23,000 miles per hour.

Trailing behind 2020 FK is an asteroid known as 2020 FS. This space rock is currently flying towards Earth at a speed of about 9,600 miles per hour. CNEOS estimated that this asteroid measures around 56 feet wide.

Both 2020 FK and 2020 FS will visit Earth’s vicinity on Saturday. 2020 FK is expected to approach the planet on March 21 at 12:05 a.m. EDT from a distance of about 0.00909 astronomical units or around 845,000 miles away.

2020 FS, on the other hand, will zip past the planet on March 21 at 11:29 a.m. EDT. During its approach, the asteroid will be about 0.02096 astronomical units from the Earth’s center, which is equivalent to around 1.9 million miles.

On Sunday, Earth will be visited by two asteroids. The first one is called 2020 DP4, which is the biggest asteroid in the group. According to CNEOS, this space rock has an estimated diameter of 180 feet. It is currently moving across the Solar System at a speed of 18,000 miles per hour.

The second asteroid that will fly past Earth on Sunday is known as 2020 FF1. This space rock measures about 49 feet wide and is moving towards Earth at a velocity of almost 29,000 miles per hour.

2020 DP4 will fly past Earth on March 22 at 2:34 p.m. EDT from a distance of about 0.00903 astronomical units or 840,000 miles away. As for 2020 FF1, this asteroid will approach from a much closer distance on March 22 at 6:09 p.m. EDT. According to CNEOS, this asteroid will zip past the planet from a distance of only 0.00477 astronomical units or 443,000 miles away.

Asteroid Image: Artist illustration of an asteroid heading for the Earth Photo: Pixabay