154-Foot NEO To Zoom Past Earth At 14,000 Kmph

KEY POINTS

  • Asteroid 2020RR2 is set to pass by the Earth on Oct. 6, at 10:55 a.m. EDT
  • The NEO will be as tall as the Chicago Water Tower and half as tall as the Statue of Liberty
  • 2020RR2’s close approach will occur on the same day as Mars’ close approach to Earth

An asteroid about as tall as the Chicago Water Tower will zip past Earth this Tuesday, NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies data reveals. 

Towering at a height of 154 feet, this Near-Earth Object (NEO) will make its approach on Oct. 6, at exactly 10:55 a.m. EDT. Named 2020RR2, it will fly by the planet at about 4.08 kms or 14,000 kmph (8,699 mph). This NEO will be about half as tall as the Statue of Liberty in New York.

Along the course of its approach, 2020RR2 can get as close as 6 million kilometers from the planet’s surface. Even so, the European Space Agency has not included this asteroid in their Risk List.

First observed last Sept. 10, 2020, this NEO is classified as an Amor asteroid — asteroids whose orbits are exterior to Earth’s but are interior to Mars’. The orbit of an Amor asteroid does not cross Earth’s unlike Apollo asteroids. Using CNEOS’ orbit diagram, one will be able to see a visualization of NEA 2020RR2’s trajectory across the solar system.

According to ESA, 2020RR2 is expected to make its next close approach to Earth on Oct. 18, 2063, about 43 years from now.

Two Very Different Asteroids Image of two different asteroids captured by NASA. Photo: NASA/JPL/JHUAPL

2020RR2 won’t be the only heavenly body Earth will be anticipating this Tuesday. Happening on the same day of 2020RR2’s close approach is another planet’s close approach to the Earth. On Oct. 6, Mars will be at its closest to the Earth than any other day for the next 15 years. Positioned at a region of the sky with no bright stars surrounding it, it will be fairly easy to spot the Red planet glistening. This Tuesday will be the perfect time to whip out one’s camera to capture this rare event, or to just sit and enjoy the view.

With October promising to be jam-packed with celestial events, don’t miss the opportunity to appreciate the enormousness and beauty of the vast space cradling the home planet.

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