Asteroids, asteroids and asteroids. These days you must be hearing a lot about the celestial phonomenon. Aren’t you? Yes, may be the answer. Well, it’s a fact that asteroids are hovering all around the Earth. It is to be noted that Earth is all set to have a close encounter with a pair of supermassive asteroids today. Yes, you read it right. Classified as Near-Earth Objects by NASA's Centre for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), two asteroids identified as 2000 QW7 and 2010 CO1 will come dangerously close to Earth today at 7:54 pm EDT or 5.30 pm (IST) and 4.42am BST or 9.30 pm IST, respectively. Notably, asteroid 2000 QW7 is as big as Burj Khalifa - world’s tallest building. Asteroid 200 QW7 measures 2,133 feet (measuring between 290 and 650 metres). Currently, the NASA's Centre for Near Earth Object Studies is monitoring the activities of space rock.
The massive space rock is currently traveling at a speed of 14,361 miles per hour. Importantly, asteroid 200 QW7 is the biggest space rock to approach Earth this month. It was first detected on August 26, 2000. During its closest approach, asteroid 2000 QW7 will be 0.035428 astronomical units(AU) away from Earth. Space materials are considered as near-Earth objects if they pass within 1.3 astronomical units of Earth. An astronomical unit is the distance from Earth to the sun, or 149.6 million km.
Asteroid 2000 QW7 is expected to return in Earth’s vicinity on October 19, 2038. It passes Earth at every 19.04 years. Asteroid 2000 QW7 is also classified as an 'Armor asteroid' by NASA.
On the other hand, asteroid 2010 CO1 will be the second space rock to approach Earth today and it was detected on January 31, 2010. According to the reports, asteroid 2010 CO1 is 260 metres wide and 120 metres long and is currently travelling at a staggering speed of about 51,696 kmph. The asteroid’s closest approach will occur today at around 9.30 pm (IST).
Asteroid 2010 CO1 has been classified by NASA as an 'Apollo Asteroid', as it is a Near-Earth Asteroid with very wide orbit with a perihelion distance less than 1.017 AU, and semi-major axis greater than 1 AU. The asteroid has been classified as “Potentially Hazardous” and can cause widespread damage if it strikes populated area.
It is worth mentioning here that asteroids are small, rocky objects that orbit the Sun. Although asteroids orbit the Sun like planets, they are much smaller than planets. However, asteroids (space rocks) 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 Earth will extinct 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 in every few million years.