NASA has spotted an asteroid that will pass by the Earth at a closer distance than the moon by September.
As reported by UNILAD, the 2011 ES4 asteroid is about 22 meters to 49 meters in diameter. It will fly past the Earth at 18,253 miles per hour, which is about the standard speed for an asteroid.
While the size and speed may be somewhat normal, this asteroid will be flying by closer to the Earth than the distance of the moon.
According to NASA, the asteroid is listed on the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS)'s 'Close Approaches' database. The CNEOS explained that Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) are comets and asteroids nudged by the gravitational attraction of nearby planets into the sun's orbits allowing them to fly near the Earth. While comets were formed in the cold outer planetary system, most asteroids are formed inside the solar system between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
According to the database, the asteroid will pass by the Earth on September 1 at 10:49 A.M. Eastern Time. The 2011 ES4 will fly by at 0.00048 astronomical units away or about 44,618 miles. The distance is much closer to Earth than the moon, which is around 238,855 miles away.
While NASA has deemed its proximity as 'potentially hazardous,' the agency did not find it as a threat since its diameter is just small.
The CNEOS classified the 2011 ES4 to be an Apollo asteroid, which has a very wide orbit around the Earth and the sun, just like the other asteroids in this family. Its orbit intersects with that of the Earth's from time to time as the planet completes revolving around the sun.
Scientists have not seen the asteroid since March 2011, so they hope to get a glimpse of its travel in September.
More NEOs flying by this month
NASA has listed a total of 12 asteroids to fly by the Earth until the end of the month. The CNEOS listed the 2020 MU1 asteroid to come near the Earth on Saturday, June 11 at 7:15 P.M. ET.
The 2020 MU1, which has a diameter of between 28 meters and 63 meters, will pass by at a distance of 0.04810 au. Since then, the Earth will have daily visitors: 2020 ML on July 12 at 10:56 P.M., 2020 KJ7 at 9:09 A.M. and 2009 OS5 at 10:33 P.M. on July 13, and 2020 MQ2 on July 14 at 4:30 A.M.
Then on July 17, another asteroid will pass by the Earth, the 2020 MX at 6:16 A.M. On July 17, two asteroids will fly by, the 2016 DY30 at 5:32 A.M. and the 2020 ME3 at 10:21 P.M.
Five other asteroids will fly by towards the month-end: 2002 BF25 on July 21, the 2020 ND on July 24, 2020 MX3 on July 29 as well as the 2018 PY7 and the 2007 RF1 on July 31. Meanwhile, four other NEOs can be expected in August before the arrival of 2011 ES4 on September 1.
Despite the number of NEOs, they will be flying by at a safe distance between the Earth.