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Two asteroids will approach Earth this week. One this night. NASA warns

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Two large asteroids will approach Earth this week. The celestial bodies, known as 2006 BE55 and 2021 QW, belong to a group of potentially dangerous objects that may be on a collision course with our planet in the far future. Interestingly, one space rock of quite large size also passed us on Monday.

Potentially dangerous objects are celestial bodies – asteroids or comets – whose orbit crosses the orbit of the Earth or passes very close to it. Due to their dimensions, they may pose a threat to the future security of our planet. So far, we have been able to identify over 2,000 such celestial bodies. Over the next few days, two of them will be relatively close to Earth, although in their case we have nothing to fear.

Two asteroids, one already passed us

The first of the asteroids, 2006 BE55, will make its closest approach to Earth on Tuesday night around half an hour past midnight. This object measures between 110 and 240 meters in length and visits the vicinity of our planet every four to five years. The space rock will be 3.5 million kilometers from Earth, about ten times the distance from Earth to the Moon.

2006 BE55’s orbit relative to Earth, 2023-02-28NASA JPL CNEOS

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On Friday, a smaller object called 2021 QW will pass near Earth. This asteroid has a diameter estimated at 59-130 mi before 12:00 p.m. At 6 am it will pass us at a distance of 5.3 million km.

2021 QW orbit relative to Earth, February 28, 2023NASA JPL CNEOS

Interestingly, also on Monday, a large asteroid ventured into the vicinity of the Earth. The 2012 DK31 is similar in size to the 2006 BE55 and is just as rare in our neighborhood. It flew 4.8 million km from Earth.

Orbit of 2012 DK31 relative to Earth, February 28, 2023NASA JPL CNEOS

Why do we monitor asteroids?

Studying objects that pass our planet by millions of kilometers is not only an opportunity to get to know them better. Even small changes in the trajectory of a given asteroid, for example due to contact with another asteroid, can send it on a collision course with the Earth. In this case, tracking the movement of the space rock will allow you to quickly detect any irregularities. Fortunately, calculations NASA show that the known asteroids will not pose a threat to us for at least 100 years.

Live Science, NASA CNEOS, tvnmeteo.pl

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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