TechTwin giants among five asteroids that will pass by Earth on Monday

Twin giants among five asteroids that will pass by Earth on Monday

Powerful asteroid potentially threatening Earth
Powerful asteroid potentially threatening Earth
Images source: © Adobe Stock | dottedyeti
2:26 PM EDT, April 13, 2024

Monday, April 15, promises captivating sights for night sky enthusiasts. The sky will be graced by the close passage of two large asteroids, accompanied by three smaller bodies. Wondering when to catch this celestial event?

The Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) informs us that, according to astronomy experts, two rather large asteroids will make their safe passage near Earth on Monday, April 15.

The first asteroid, designated 517681 (2015 DE198), and the second, marked 439437 (2013 NK4), will have their flybys within just an hour of each other. The first event is set for 9:08 AM, followed by the second at 9:50 AM Eastern Time.

A pair of giants and a quintet of smaller visitors

Regarding size, the first asteroid measures between 1443 and 3248 feet, and the second spans about 1509 feet to up to 0.62 miles in diameter. Such large objects are significantly less common than the smaller asteroids, which range from a few feet to several dozen feet and pass by Earth almost daily.

Interestingly, on the same day, April 15, three additional, significantly smaller asteroids, ranging from a few to several dozen feet, will also make their close approach to Earth.

Astronomers have assured us that the larger asteroids will keep a safe distance from Earth, eliminating any collision threat. The asteroid labelled 517681 (2015 DE198) will miss Earth by a distance 18 times that of the Moon (0.05 au), travelling at about 31,068 mph. On the other hand, asteroid 439437 (2013 NK4) will pass at a distance over 8 times that of the Moon (0.02 au), with an estimated speed of 36,660 mph.

The first object has been under observation since its discovery in 2015 through the Pan-STARRS, an American observational program. The latter was identified in 2013 thanks to the efforts of the Siding Spring Survey at the Siding Spring Observatory in Australia.

Both asteroids belong to the potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs) category, defined as bodies that come closer to Earth than 0.05 astronomical units (about 19.5 times the distance to the Moon) and are large enough to potentially cause a regional disaster upon impact (diameters greater than 459 feet).

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