Okay, you might want to put your solar eclipse glasses on and sit down for this one: Scientists say a giant asteroid will pass by Earth next month, and it’s coming right for us. The good news? It’s not supposed to hit our planet. The way things are going these days, though, that would be the icing on the cake at this point, right? In any case, this asteroid is huge.
Scratch that: this asteroid is MASSIVE.
According to a press release from NASA, “Asteroid Florence, a large near-Earth asteroid, will pass safely by Earth on September 1st, 2017, at a distance of about 4.4 million miles. Florence is among the largest near-Earth asteroids that are several miles is size.” At least they gave her a gorgeous name!
Since it’s so large and it’s going to be so close — well, if 4 million miles is considered close — NASA scientists will be able to use Florence to learn everything they can about asteroids in general. The asteroid is supposed to be over three miles wide, too, so there will be plenty of opportunity to investigate it.
Paul Chodas, manager of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), said in a statement, “While many known asteroids have passed by closer to Earth than Florence will on September 1st, all of those were estimated to be smaller. Florence is the largest asteroid to pass by our planet this close since the NASA program to detect and track near-Earth asteroids began.”
An asteroid is nothing more than a piece of rock going around the sun. Most of the time, they fly around Mars and Jupiter, according to Space.com, and can be as small as a dust particle or as large as 583 miles wide. Just in case you were wondering: The only difference between an asteroid and a meteor is how close it gets to Earth. So good ol’ Florence is still an asteroid, since she’s not coming all that close.
What an exciting time to be alive, huh? First an eclipse, then an asteroid. What do you think is next? Aliens?