Giant Asteroid Is Headed Near Earth, NASA Says

( A massive asteroid, 460 to 1,050 feet in circumference, will pass Earth in 2023. The cruise ship-sized space rock will approach Earth at its closest point since records have been kept on October 17 at 0:30 a.m.

Here, “close” still refers to hundreds of thousands of miles away in the universe, so we’re only talking about a relatively large distance. Asteroid 1998 HH49 is anticipated to pass our planet by a distance of 730,000 miles, which is roughly three times the distance between the Earth and the moon.

According to NASA’s calculations, the asteroid will not come as close to Earth again until the year 2163, when it will pass within about 400,000 miles.

Despite being more than 40,000,000 miles away, asteroid 1998 HH49 last came close to Earth in 2021. The following two times it is anticipated to approach Earth are in 2025 and 2027, but this time it will still be a few tens of millions of miles away.

The director of the U.K.’s Spaceguard Center observatory, Jay Tate, previously stated that asteroids are “bits of a planet that didn’t happen” that orbit the sun between Mars and Jupiter in the main asteroid belt. Asteroids can cross over the orbits of planets because of their small size, which makes them easily disrupted.

To put it another way, the gravitational pull of other planets may cause them to drag asteroids into the inner solar system and into close proximity to Earth, which may cause their orbit to be disturbed. These asteroids are referred to as Near-Earth Objects  (NEOs).

The term “potentially hazardous” describes asteroids over 460 feet in diameter and pass within 4.6 million miles of the Earth’s orbit. 1998 HH49 falls into this category.

These asteroids are not presently a threat, despite this classification.

Scientists now believe that the largest asteroid ever to strike Earth, which slammed into the planet about 2 billion years ago, may have been even more massive. Researchers recently calculated that the epic impactor may have been about twice as wide as the asteroid that wiped out the nonavian dinosaurs based on the size of the Vredefort crater, the enormous impact scar left by the gigantic space rock in what is now South Africa.