Posted BY: Wyatt | NwoReport
A massive asteroid larger than the Empire State Building is due to fly past the Earth on Monday.
The asteroid, named 488453 (1994 XD), is estimated to be around somewhere between 370 and 830 meters across, or between 1,213 and 2,723 feet, according to NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) data.
The Empire State Building is around 1,250 feet tall on its roof and 1,400 feet at its tallest point.
The asteroid is expected to pass the Earth at a distance of 0.02114 AU, with one AU being the distance between the Earth and the sun. 0.02114 AU equates to around 1,965,000 miles.
For context, the moon orbits the Earth at a distance of around 239,000 miles, and Venus is 38 million miles away at its closest point.
“Asteroids are ‘bits of a planet that didn’t happen’ that orbit the sun between Mars and Jupiter in the Main Asteroid Belt,” Jay Tate, the director of the Spaceguard Center observatory in the U.K., previously told Newsweek. “However, as they are relatively small, asteroids can be disturbed quite easily, so they can develop orbits that cross those of planets.”
NASA estimates there are more than 1,100,000 asteroids in our solar system, and is constantly discovering more.
Asteroid 488453 (1994 XD) is forecast to soar past us at a speed of 21.47 km/s, or around 48,000 mph. A speeding bullet only travels at roughly 1,800 mph, about 27 times slower. NASA‘s JPL Small-Body database shows that 488453 (1994 XD) orbits the sun once every 3.6 years or so, but doesn’t pass close by the Earth every time.
Most asteroids in the solar system are found in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Occasionally, Jupiter’s gravitational influence causes these asteroids to be ejected into the inner solar system, soaring past planets like ours.
“We believe they formed in the asteroid belt and got ejected by the impact, or their orbits were destabilized due to the presence of Jupiter resonances in the belt,” Franck Marchis, a senior planetary astronomer at the SETI Institute, told Newsweek in October.
Asteroids that reach a distance of 30 million miles from the Earth are classified as “near-Earth objects” (NEOs), of which NASA has found 31,000.