NASA asteroid tracker: A BUS-SIZED asteroid will pass Earth TODAY dangerously close - Milkyway

NASA asteroid tracker: A BUS-SIZED asteroid will pass Earth TODAY dangerously close

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The giant asteroid will approach our home planet dangerously close today (May 10) around 6.38pm BST (12.38pm ET). According to NASA, the space rock dubbed Asteroid 2019 JJ3, will make a so-called “Earth Close Approach”. NASA’s asteroid trackers have only caught their first glimpse of the barreling asteroid two days ago on May 8. But the space agency’s California-based Jet Propulsion Laboratory already knows a great big deal about the asteroid’s orbit, size and behavior.

Asteroid JJ3 is an Apollo-type asteroid, meaning it zips around the solar system in a fashion similar to Asteroid 1862 Apollo.

The space rock measures somewhere in the region of 27.9ft to 62.3ft (8.5m to 19m) in diameter.

An object at the upper end of NASA’s scale is roughly the equivalent of two double-decker buses in a row or nine Queen Size beds.

A similar-sized object struck the Earth’s atmosphere in 2013 over Russia’s Chelyabinsk Oblast.

 NASA asteroid tracker: Giant space rock over Earth





NASA asteroid tracker: A giant space rock will zip over Earth today (May 10) (Image: GETTY)

The Chelyabinsk meteor only measured around 65.6ft (20m) across but its eruption blew out windows, injured more than 1,000 people and damaged more than 7,000 buildings.

NASA, at the time, said the unexpected asteroid attack was a “wake up call” to the dangers lurking in space.

Because of this, the US space agency keeps a watchful eye on all “Near-Earth Objects” (NEOs) like Asteroid JJ3.

NEOs are all comets (NECs) and asteroids (NEAs) which fly around the Sun from a distance of 1.3 astronomical units (au).

One astronomical unit distance between the Sun and the Earth – approximately 93 million isles (149.6 million km).

NASA said: “As they orbit the Sun, Near-Earth Objects can occasionally approach close to Earth.

“Note that a ‘close’ passage astronomically can be very far away in human terms: millions or even tens of millions of kilometers.”

So just how close is Asteroid JJ3 expected to fly past the Earth today?

 NASA asteroid tracker: Giant space rock over Earth

NASA asteroid tracker: The asteroid is not destined to hit the Earth anytime soon (Image: GETTY)

 NASA asteroid tracker: Giant space rock over Earth

NASA asteroid tracker: The asteroid will not visit Earth again in the future (Image: GETTY)

At its closest, NASA predicts the asteroid will come within 0.00503 astronomical units of Earth.

This is the equivalent of 467,567 miles or 752,477 km above our heads.

In other terms, the asteroid will swing by nearly twice as far away as the Moon is – 1.92 Lunar Distances (LD).

Based on NASA’s orbital calculations, this might be the first and last time the asteroid passes Earth’s corner of space.

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