390-foot Asteroid 2005 RX3, bigger than Statue of Liberty, hurtling towards Earth at scary speed

Asteroid 2005 RX3 to pass close to Earth on September 18 at a distance of just 2.95 million kilometers.

Asteroids have been passing close to the Earth virtually on a daily basis recently. While there have been big asteroids and small asteroids passing very close to our planet, they did not pose too high a threat to our planet. But due to their close approaches, scientists classified many of them as potentially dangerous asteroids. Now, one such asteroid, that is bigger than the Statue of Liberty, is hurtling towards Earth and it will come too close to the planet for comfort. As per a report by NASA, Asteroid 2005 RX3, which is as big as 390 feet, will reportedly fly past Earth on September 18, at 11:52 at a hair-raising distance of just 2.95 million kilometers.

The current distance from earth is 11:52 million kilometers, equivalent to 0.78 astronomical units. The asteroid will be traveling at a speed of 17 kilometers per second. The asteroid 2005 RX3 belongs to Apollo Group. It was detected on September 6, 2005. According to Sky.org, the space rock takes 690 days to complete one orbit around the Sun. Its orbit’s farthest point from the Sun is 350 million kilometers, and the nearest point is 108 million kilometers. It will make its next close pass to earth on February 28, 2070 at 17.6 million kilometers.

How are asteroids classified into near-Earth objects and how NASA detects them

However, this asteroid doesn’t fall into the category of potentially hazardous asteroids. Reason being that a space rock that comes within the distance of 30 million miles from Earth is classified as a “near-Earth object” by NASA and any near-earth object that come within around 4.65 million miles fall into potentially hazardous asteroids. However, the asteroid “2005 RX3”, is not classified as a “potentially hazardous object” as its size is estimated in the range from 390-foot.

The tech that tracks asteroids

According to NASA, NEOs are characterized by using optical and radio telescopes to determine their size, shape, rotation, and physical composition. Some of the most detailed characterization data obtained for NEOs are observed with planetary radar, performed by radio telescopes at NASA’s Deep Space Network and the National Science Foundation’s Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.

What are asteroids?

Asteroids are small, rocky objects leftover from the solar system’s formation around some 4.5 billion years ago. They orbit the sun and mostly reside in the between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, also known as asteroid belt. They are made of different kinds of rocks, and hence, no two asteroids are alike.

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