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361-Foot asteroid '2019 UK6' to pass by Earth, NASA says

Artist Concept by NASA/Wikimedia Commons

This year, our planet has had a number of close encounters with asteroids. Now, a 361-foot asteroid is said to pass by Earth on Wednesday, according to NASA.

NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies has identified the 361-foot asteroid as 2019 UK6. At the moment, the said asteroid is also moving towards the Earth at a speed of 17,000 miles per hour. As mentioned, 2019 UK6 is measured at around 361-feet in diameter, which means it is bigger than the Statue of Liberty in the United States and Big Ben in London.

The CNEOS officially classified 2019 UK6 as an Amor-type asteroid. Amor asteroids do not follow an Earth-crossing orbit compared to other asteroid types like the Apollos and Atens. Instead, Amor asteroids move around a wide orbit around the Earth and the sun.

However, due to their tendencies of passing by the Earth at a dangerously close range, 2019 UK6 is labeled as a near-earth object. Therefore, 2019 UK6 can still pose a potential threat to the planet, which is why NASA keeps a close eye on this asteroid every day.

As to when 2019 UK6 is said to pass by Earth, NASA says that the asteroid will pass by Earth on the 20th of November, 2019, at 1:20 a.m. EST. Fortunately, even if the asteroid does make its approach, it will only come as close as 0.03952 astronomical units or about 3, 800, 000 miles away from the Earth.

Similarly, back in August of this year, News Nation reported that an asteroid with the exact same measurements as 2019 UK6, called 2016 PD1, was said to pass by the Earth as well. Compared to 2019 UK6, 2016 PD1 moved at a rate of 13,000 miles per hour. 2016 PD1 was reported to pass by Earth on the 26th of August, 0.02925 astronomical units away, or 2, 700,000 miles away.

2019 UK6 and 2016 PD1 are just two of the many asteroids that are known to approach or have approached Earth this year. Other asteroids that have previously approached the planet include 2019 OK, 2019 OD, 2019 OE, 2019 NN3, 2019 MB4, 2019 MT2, 2016 NO56M, 2015 HM10, 2006 QV89, and RF12.

By Denise Nequinto
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