The imposing asteroid, known as RC in 2019, flew past Earth on a path called Close Approach. NASA said yesterday (16 September) around 9:43 pm BST (4.43 pm EDT) the asteroid was nearest to Earth. The asteroid was only found at the beginning of September 2, but since then NASA has called the rock a close-earth object or NEO. The American Space Agency has also categorized the rock for Earth’s security as “possibly dangerous.”
Last night Asteroid RC flew past Earth at breakneck speeds of around 15.08 km/s, or 33,732 mph (54,288 km/h).
NASA estimates rock measurements somewhere between 393.7 ft and 853 ft in diameter (120 m up to 260 m).
An asteroid of this size is around 2.7 times the size of Big Ben’s London clocktower. If the asteroid hit a populous town like London, thousands could be killed by the effect.
Asteroid RC has been categorized as a “Potentially Hazardous Asteroid” or PHA because of these variables.
In a 2015 study on asteroid hazards, all PHAs are asteroids with a diameter up to 459 ft (140 m).
The spatial rocks must also cross from at least 4.6 million miles (7.5 million km) the Earth’s orbit of the Sun.
The word ‘potential’ does not indicate an instant danger of effect this evening but a slim chance of an effect in the future.
The Asteroid research, written by astronomer David Perna and peers, reads: “PHAs are big enough to survive the transit through the Earth’s atmosphere, cause comprehensive harm to the surface and have orbits that could lead to a collision with our planet in the next century.”
The research also found that it is “vital” to study these rocky items to protect the earth from future cataclysms.
Asteroid 2019 RC approached us from a range of 0.04465 astronomic units (AU), according to NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS).
The distance between the Earth and the Sun is described by one astronomical unit–about 93 million miles (149.6 million km).
This means that NASA has said that the asteroid will securely miss Earth about 4.1 million kilometers away (6.67 million kilometers).
The distance from the Earth to the Moon is 17.38 times.
However, on the large scale of the universe, safety margins like this are extremely low.
NASA said: “Near-earth objects may come close to Earth sometimes as they orbit the Sun.
“Note that in human terms a’ near’ passage could be very distant: millions or even tens of millions of miles.”