An asteroid the size of the Empire State building will 'fly-by' Earth next week

By Alex Nelson
Friday, 02 August, 2019, 10:07

An asteroid larger than of one of America's tallest buildings will fly-by the Earth next week, coming relatively close to our home planet.

Known as 2006 QQ23 and 1,870 feet in diameter, the asteroid will zip by at speeds of over 10,400 mph, and has been labelled as "potentially hazardous" by Nasa.

With the Empire State building measuring just 1,454 feet tall, 2006 QQ23 is roughly 36 stories larger.

But don't start saying your goodbyes to your loved ones just yet - the space rock is expected to only come within 4.55 million miles of our world.

2006 QQ23 won't pose any threat to our planet (Photo: Nasa)

Any object that comes within 4.65 million miles of the Earth's orbit get categorised by the space agency as "potentially hazardous", and so 2006 QQ23 only falls within that boundary by 100,000 miles.

That's a tiny distance in space terms.

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When will the fly-by happen?

The asteroid is expected to make its relatively close approach on 10 August.

It last made a close pass in 2001, and after next week's visit, won't be in our area of the Solar System until 15 February 2022. It won't be anywhere near as close then, either.

Classified as a 'Near-Earth Object' (which refers to any asteroid or comet that orbits within 121 million miles of the Sun, and within 30 million miles of Earth), objects like 2006 QQ23 are a common occurrence in our Solar System.

Nasa's Near Earth Object Observations Program has catalogued nearly 900 asteroids that have a diameter of more than one kilometre, and there are more than 20,000 known Near-Earth Objects smaller than this.

The biggest known asteroid that orbits our sun is about 21 miles long, but asteroids of that size are rare.

This article originally appeared on our sister site, inews