An Asteroid Bigger Than Pyramid of Giza Is Heading Towards Earth, NASA Warns

Image: Getty

An asteroid bigger than the London Eye is on "close approach" with Earth, NASA has warned.

Named '2016 NF23', the large lump of space rock has been labelled "potentially hazardous" and boasts an estimated diameter of up to 160m.

To put that in perspective, that's the same as the height of the Walkie Talker skyscraper in the City of London, and about 20 or so metres bigger than the London Eye, which stands at 135m, and 50m bigger than St Pauls cathedral, which measures about 110m.

A diagram from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab shows just how its orbit intersects with Earth’s, with the asteroid getting closer and closer to our planet in the days leading up to August 29, when it reaches its closest point. At this time, it will be about .03 astronomical units (au) away – or about 3 million miles.

The US space agency's NASA's Earth Close Approaches page reports that the 2016 NF23 asteroid is hurtling rapidly at a speed of around 20,000mph.

Asteroid 2016 NF23 also falls within the category of ‘potentially hazardous objects,’ which are those that reach a minimum distance less than .05 au from Earth and have an absolute magnitude (H) of 22.0 or brighter. Asteroid 2016 NF23 has an absolute magnitude of 22.9. In recent years, NASA has turned its focus to finding near-Earth objects estimated to be larger than 140 meters, as 90 percent of those larger than 1 kilometer have already been located.

In comparison, just 10 percent of these smaller – but still potentially catastrophic – objects are thought to have been found to date.

Comments

  1. Interesting that their graphic shows a rock the size of a continent hitting the earth, and this thing is the size of pyramid. If it hit, it would still be disasterous, but nowhere near what a continent-sized rock would do!

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