Earth is all set to have a close encounter with a huge asteroid dubbed as 2019 XO1 on Friday. Yes, you read it right. According to NASA, asteroid 2019 XO1 is flying towards Earth at a speed of almost 18,000 miles per hour. The US space agency further estimated that the asteroid 2019 XO1 is about 243 feet wide. As wide as the wingspan of a Boeing 747 plane, the space rock is classified as an Aten asteroid.
Asteroid 2019 XO1 will approach Earth on December 13 at 8:25 AM (EST). During its closest approach, the space rock will be only 0.03033 astronomical units or around 1.9 million miles away. Fortunately, the massive space rock will zip past the Earth. Relax, we are safe.
Importantly, asteroid 2019 XO1 was first observed on December 3. After its visit, the space rock is not expected to return to Earth’s neighborhood until December 22, 2022, where it will approach Earth from a distance of 0.09534 astronomical units or roughly 8.9 million miles away. The last time this space rock approached Earth was on November 17, 2013. At that time, the asteroid flew past Earth from a distance of 0.09488 astronomical units or about 8.8 million miles away.
It is worth mentioning here that on December 20, asteroid 216258 (2006 WH1) will come dangerously close to Earth at a staggering speed of 26,843 miles per hour. The 540-metre space rock is the same size as the World Trade Centre and would cause a significant amount of damage and mass extinction if hits Earth.
On December 26, asteroid CH59 will come astronomically close to Earth. Measuring somewhere around 2,000 feet, asteroid CH59 is hurtling towards Earth at the speed of 27,450mph. The space rock will come dangerously close to Earth at around 7.54 AM (GMT) of December 26, 2019. During its closest approach, asteroid CH59 will approach the planet from a distance of about 0.04874 astronomical units (au). Asteroid CH59 is comparable in size to China’s Canton Tower and The Sears Tower in Chicago, US.
Asteroids, if hit Earth, can bring tsunamis, shock waves and flattening winds that could be catastrophic. The space rocks approach towards the Earth due to the gravitational forces that affect them. It is said that one day all life on the Earth will be extinct. Not only life, but the Earth will also extinct someday and an asteroid could be the possible reason. Shocked to hear that? However, a car-sized asteroid slams into the Earth's atmosphere about once in a year. On the other hand, an asteroid large enough to threaten the existence of life on Earth arrives once every few million.