Two large chunks of space rock will pass very close to Earth this weekend Friday night, NASA reported earlier this week.
The two asteroids – named 2010 C01 and 2000 QW7 – have been documented in the NASA database for two decades under the Near-Earth Object Observations Program, the report says.
“These asteroids have been well observed – one since 2000 and the other since 2010 – and their orbits are very well known,” said Lindley Johnson, planetary defense officer and program executive for the Planetary Defense Coordination Office at NASA headquarters in Washington DC.
The two are estimated to be 120-260 meters and 290-650 meters in size, respectively, but thankfully neither pose an impact danger, the astronomers say.
Under the Near-Earth Object Observations Program, NASA astronomers keep tabs on so-called near-Earth objects, which encompasses any celestial body that orbits the Sun and flies within 30 million miles of Earth’s orbit.
The first asteroid, 2010 C01, will make its closest approach at 11:42 pm EDT on 13 September, and the second, 2000 QW7, will pass by Earth at 7:54 pm EDT on 14 September, according to NASA. During their pass, they will be about 14 lunar distances from Earth, or roughly 3.5 million miles away.
“Both of these asteroids are passing at about 14 lunar distances from the Earth, or about 3.5 million miles away, but small asteroids pass by Earth this close all the time,” Johnson said.