‘Potentially hazardous’ asteroid will speed by Earth on Thursday, NASA says

STATEN ISLAND, NY — A “potentially hazardous” asteroid will pass by Earth on Thursday, according to NASA.

Dubbed Asteroid 418135 (2008 AG33) by NASA, the asteroid will make a “close” approach to Earth around 2:46 pm

About 350 to 780 meters wide, or 1,148-2,559 feet wide, the asteroid is about the same size as the Empire State Building.

It will break into Earth’s orbit at a blistering 23,300 miles per hour, according to LiveScience.

While the asteroid is considered hazardous, it doesn’t pose an actual threat of colliding with Earth for the foreseeable future, NASA said.

A near-Earth object is generally defined as an asteroid or comet that approaches our planet less than 1.3 times the distance from Earth to the sun (the Earth-sun distance is about 93 million miles). Most near-Earth objects pose no peril.

According to NASA, it’s the small percentage of potentially hazardous asteroids that draws extra scrutiny. These objects are defined as those that approach Earth at less than half the Earth-sun distance.

An asteroid needs to be wider than 500 meters and pass within 4.65 million miles of Earth to be called “potentially hazardous.”

The asteroid set to approach Earth this week was first discovered in 2008 by Mt. Lemmon Survey at Mount Lemmon Observatory, which is located at 2,791 meters in the Santa Catalina Mountains northeast of Tucson, Ariz.

The next close approach of this asteroid will be on May 25, 2029.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory hosts the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies for NASA’s Near-Earth Object Observations Program, an element of the Planetary Defense Coordination Office within the agency’s Science Mission Directorate.


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