Tomorrow an asteroid the size of a stadium will touch the Earth

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in the picture: Credit: Urikyo33

This weekend an asteroid will pass close to Earth but, as in the case of the last few close passages, this time too there is nothing to fear. Although the asteroid 2002 NN4 falls into the category of “potentially dangerous” objects of NASA, its passage will take place safely and relatively far from our planet. 2002 NN4 will pass over our heads tomorrow, around 5:20 am on Sunday 7 June. It will fly over the Earth at a distance of 5,093,634 kilometers, about 13 times the distance between our planet and the Moon. In short, nothing to worry about.

For NASA, however, this distance is sufficient to make the space object fall within the category of “potentially dangerous” asteroids. This term defines those objects larger than 140 meters and characterized by a close passage at a distance of less than 7.5 million kilometers. But there is talk of distances far greater than those that should really worry us. In the case of 2002 NN4, the estimated size is around 200/500 meters, about the size of a football stadium. It will pass close to Earth at a speed of 11.1 kilometers per second.

2002 NN4 is defined as the asteroid Aten, because it passes most of its orbit closer to the sun than to Earth. Like planets, asteroids are bodies that orbit our star, but obviously they are characterized by much more contained forms. Our Solar System is full of asteroids, especially in the belt that is located between Mars and Jupiter, and our systems are becoming more and more efficient in identifying them: for this reason the news on the close passages are becoming more frequent. The next passage of 2002 NN4 near Earth is expected on June 7, 2029, when it will pass a distance of 8.8 million kilometers.



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