Three of the asteroids are the approximate size of commercial airplanes, with the largest among them being 170 feet long. Dubbed 2023 QE8, that asteroid is expected to pass by within 945,000 miles of our planet on Sunday in what will be its first trip in Earth’s orbit in two years.
What makes an asteroid ‘potentially hazardous?’
The lab, which the California Institute of Technology manages on behalf of NASA, tracks any asteroid or comet with orbits that will bring them within 4.6 million miles of Earth, or 19.5 times the distance to the moon.
The Asteroid Watch dashboard displays the date of its closest approach, the object’s approximate diameter and its distance from Earth. Any object larger than about 150 meters (about 492 feet) that can approach the Earth to within this distance becomes potentially hazardous, according to the lab.
Most asteroids orbit within the main asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. But some follow paths that circulate into the inner solar system, including so-called near-Earth asteroids, according to NASA.
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