Chill out over the pyramid-size asteroid coming near the earth



This NASA illustration shows asteroid 2012 DA14 during an approach in 2013.

NASA

Possibly dangerous. Dangerous. Warning!

An asteroid described in various news sources as larger than the pyramids in Egypt and larger than the London Eye indeed passes the earth on August 29. But it is not about ramming our planet with the power of a thousand apocalypse.

Asteroid 2016 NF23 is interesting because of its size and the fact that it is approaching the earth later this month. NASA estimates that it clocks between 230 feet (70 meters) and 524 feet (160 meters) in diameter. On the larger side of the scale it would indeed be bigger than the Great Pyramid.

Fortunately for us the near approach is actually pretty far away. It projects us at about 13 moon distances, which amounts to more than 3 million miles (4.8 million kilometers). So you do not have to worry about bending, because 2016 NF23 zooms along our small angle of the solar system.

There are other asteroids that will be even closer to us in the coming days, but no one is fond of cute little PU23 from 2018, which can be as small as 6 meters in diameter. Today it settles on less than 8 moon distances during his flyby.

NASA follows a huge catalog of near-earth objects (NEOs). Sometimes space objects enter our atmosphere, as we have seen with one spectacular fireball earlier this month, but you can feel comfortable about 2016 NF23. We will not even notice.

And if you need more reassurance from NASA, you can read this statement from the end of 2017: "It is predicted that no asteroid will affect the Earth for the next 100 years at the moment."


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