Asteroid as Big as Golden Gate Bridge Will Fly Past Earth on First Full Day of Spring
Due to its size and proximity to Earth, NASA has classified the asteroid as "potentially hazardous," but experts believe there's no risk of impact
Spring is coming — and according to NASA, so is an asteroid as big as the Golden Gate Bridge!
Through a diagram on their website, the space agency confirmed that an asteroid, known as 231937 (2001 FO32), will fly past Earth on March 21, the day after the spring equinox.
On that day, the asteroid is expected to come within 1.25 million miles of Earth at 11:02 a.m. ET, according to Space Reference.
Scientists say the asteroid will be between 0.5 to 1 mile in diameter, which is larger than approximately 97 percent of asteroids and similar in size to the Golden Gate Bridge, though still small in comparison to large asteroids, the outlet reported.
NASA currently classifies "potentially hazardous" asteroids as those that come within 0.05 au (4.65 million miles) of Earth, and are larger than 500 feet in diameter.
However, because "231937 (2001 FO32)" has a well-known 810-day orbit, scientists say it poses no risk of impact, Earth Sky reported.
"This is the closest predicted approach in 2021 for any moderately large asteroid, where 'moderately large' means at least several hundred meters in size," Paul Chodas, director of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, told CBS News.
According to Earth Sky, the asteroid will pass by Earth at 76,980 miles per hour or 21 miles per second — making it "one of the fastest space rocks known to fly by Earth."
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Those interested in viewing the passing asteroid won't be able to see it with their eyes alone, but can do so using an 8" or larger diameter telescope, the outlet reported.
"Observers at lower latitudes and in the southern hemisphere will be better placed to take a look through a telescope," Earth Sky stated.