The largest asteroid ever seen by NASA—4.4 kilometers in width—is approaching Earth

No worries though, the asteroid won’t impact Earth and your Sunday Football Fantasy leagues are safe.

Dubbed Florence, “the massive asteroid is the biggest one to have come so close to our planet since the detection program was established,” said NASA in a statement.

The largest asteroid in the history of approaching our planet is heading towards Earth and the outcome of this astronomical event will take place on September 1, reports NASA.

It is expected that Florence, which is around 4.4 kilometers in diameter, will pass at a distance of 7 million kilometers or 18 times the distance between Earth and the Moon.

According to reports from NASA, this is the closest an asteroid of that size has come near our planet ever since the agency began tracking “Near Earth” objects.

It offers scientists a never-before-seen opportunity to research it up close with the aid of ground-based observatories.

Radar imaging is planned at NASA’s Goldstone Solar System Radar in California and at the National Science Foundation’s Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, according to NASA.

NASA scientists will be able to observe the exact size of the asteroid and will have the opportunity to observe surface details as small as ten meters.

And while many have been alarmed by the news of Florence, NASA has made it clear that the object will safely fly past our planet.

Experts say that this isn’t the CLOSEST encounter Earth has had with a near-Earth-object, but at this distance, it is the largest.

via GIPHY

“While many known asteroids have passed by closer to Earth than Florence will on September 1, all of those were estimated to be smaller,” said Paul Chodas, manager of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

“Florence is the largest asteroid to pass by our planet this close since the NASA program to detect and track near-Earth asteroids began.”

The asteroid was discovered at the Siding Spring Observatory in Australia in March 1981 by Schelte “Bobby” Bus. The 2017 approach is believed to be the closest the asteroid will fly since 1890. The next “close encounter” will occur in 2500.

NASA states how the flyby will even be visible to small telescopes in late August and early days of September when it will pass through the constellations of Piscis Austrinus, Capricornus, Aquarius, and Delphinus.

While Florence does not pose an immediate threat to Earth, the agency has revealed how an asteroid the size of a two-story house will narrowly miss Earth in October.

Dubbed 2012TC4, the asteroid comes as a warning for experts who need to work on systems that will help detect all asteroids that pose a threat to life on Earth.

TC4 will pass “Damn Close” according to experts who have revealed that it will fly inside the moon’s orbit, but just far enough to miss it.

More information about asteroids and near-Earth objects can be found at:

https://cneos.jpl.nasa.gov

https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/asteroidwatch


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