Earth is all set have a close encounter with an asteroid on August 10, 2019 i.e. on Saturday. Yes, you read it right. Only one day to go. Astronomers has recently found an asteroid named as 2006 QQ23 that will approach dangerously towards the Earth. Asteroid 2006 QQ23 is bigger than the Empire State Building while NASA classified the giant space rock as “potentially hazardous”. It is to be noted that the size of Asteroid 2006 QQ23 is 1,870 feet in diameter while the Empire State Building is 1,454 feet tall. That means the asteroid 2006 QQ23 is around 36 stories larger than the Empire State Building. Yes, the space rock is massive. However, there’s no need to panic as the gigantic asteroid will fly past the Earth and will not collide with our planet.
Many deadly asteroids have approached towards the Earth in recent times, but did not collide with our planet. Yes, we are very lucky in this case. Importantly, asteroids can bring tsunamis, shock waves and flattening winds that could be catastrophic. Asteroids are small, rocky objects that orbit the Sun. The space rocks (asteroid) approach towards the Earth due to the gravitational forces that affect them. According to a report published by spacetelescope.org, there are more than 7 lakh asteroids that have been found in space. Asteroids are mainly found in an area called the ‘main belt’, between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
Scientists have so far identified over 5000 near-Earth asteroids of more than 300 m diameters. NASA, however, says that the Earth is safe from any significant space threat for at least a century. The maximum number of near-Earth asteroids (over 10,000) are of less than 100 m diameters. Even if these asteroids enter the Earth’s atmosphere, such space rocks will disintegrate into smaller parts without posing any significant danger.
Coming back to the asteroid 2006 QQ23, NASA’S CNEOS estimated that the space rock will come within about 4.55 million miles of the Earth and will be whizzing past at 10,400 miles per hour. It is worth mentioning here that the distance may seem like there’s no risk at all but any fast moving space object that comes within around 4.65 million miles is considered to be "potentially hazardous" by the space organisations.
It is worth mentioning here that asteroid 2006 QQ23 hasn't got this close to Earth since 2001. After its fleeting flypast on August 10, the asteroid is not expected to come near our planet again until February 15th 2022. In the meantime, NASA has detected a total of seven asteroids that will be heading towards Earth this August. The asteroids are named as 2013 BZ45, 2018 PN22, 2016 PD, 2002 JR100 and 2019 OU1.