National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has warned about two giant asteroids which are heading on a so-called “Earth Close Approach” on Tuesday, November 20th, within 20 minutes of each other.
The first Asteroid 2018 VQ6 will pass next to Earth around 7:30 AM UTC, while the second space body, dubbed Asteroid 2018 VP7 will follow at 7:50 UTC, approximately.
According to asteroid experts at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California, both asteroids could measure between 39.37ft and 114.8ft (12m to 35m). VQ6 is expected to measure somewhere between 16 meters to 35 meters in diameter. Asteroid VP7, on the other hand, is estimated to measure somewhere between 12 meters to 28 meters in diameter. While neither of the asteroids is believed to hit the Earth, both are large enough for NASA to keep a watchful eye on them.
The first of the two asteroids is expected to reach its closest possible distance to Earth at around 0.02931 astronomical units (AU) and the second one is believed to reach its close approach at 0.01961 AU. Notably, one astronomical unit equals about 92.95 million miles, which is the distance between the Earth and the Sun.
Experts have classified these asteroids as ‘Near Earth Object’ (NEO) as these space bodies are making a close approach at around 2.72 million miles away. As per NASA, any space bodies like asteroid or comet on an orbital path around the Sun of around 1.3 AU or 120.8 million miles are considered a Near Earth Object. However, if an NEO travels too close to Earth and is big enough to cause significant damages to the planet, then it is termed as Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA).
“As they orbit the Sun, NEOs can occasionally approach close to Earth. Note that a “close” passage astronomically can be very far away in human terms: millions or even tens of millions of kilometers,” NASA says.