Both asteroids may pass Earth today by a small margin, NASA says; Check size, speed and more

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To find, track and monitor asteroids, NASA has many technological marvels. The NEOWISE telescope, the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA), PANS-STARRS1 and the Catalina Sky Survey are some of the space and ground-based telescopes and satellites used by the space agency. Since there is historical precedent for asteroids impacting Earth and causing tremendous damage, it is imperative that we keep an eye on them for any potential impact scenarios. NASA has now revealed that two asteroids will make their closest approach to Earth today, April 4.

Also Read: 10 breathtaking snapshots of the nebula captured by NASA

Asteroid 2021 FD1: Details

The first asteroid to pass Earth today was identified by NASA's Object Studies, or CNEOS, as Asteroid 2021 FD1. It is expected to pass the Earth at a distance of only 897,000 km. According to NASA, it is traveling at a speed of 31854 kilometers per hour in its orbit, which is much faster than an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM)!

In terms of size, feet wide, asteroid 2021 FD1 is 52 feet wide, almost as big as a house. It belongs to the Apollo group of near-Earth asteroids, which are space rocks that pass by Earth with major partial axes than Earth. These asteroids are named after the massive 1862 Apollo asteroid discovered by German astronomer Carl Reinmuth in the 1930s.

Also Read: James Webb Space Telescope – 10 Amazing Astronomy Pictures

Asteroid 2023 GC2: Details

The second asteroid to pass Earth is designated Asteroid 2023 GC2. On its closest approach today, it comes as close as 3.3 million kilometers to Earth and is orbiting at a speed of 20464 kilometers per hour.

In terms of size, Asteroid 2023 GC2 is smaller than Asteroid 2021 FD1, measuring just 38 feet across, roughly the size of a bus. NASA says the asteroid belongs to the Aten group of asteroids, which are near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) smaller than Earth that pass by Earth. American astronomer Eleanor Hellin discovered 2062 Aten and named it the first asteroid of its kind at the Palomar Observatory on January 7, 1976.

Also Read: What are asteroids and how is ESA tracking them?

It is important to note that although both asteroids are classified as near-Earth asteroids because of their close travel distance, they are unlikely to impact the planet.

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