Asteroid wider than a pair of football fields to fly by Earth at a fair distance on 14 September

The near-earth object with its massive size and close proximity, however, has no chance of hitting our homeworld, assured NASA.


A “potentially hazardous” asteroid is going to pass by Earth on 14 September, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Known as 2020 QL2, the asteroid anywhere between 53 meters (174 feet) and 120 meters (393 feet) wide – wider than the wingspans of three and half Boeing 747 planes placed side-by-side.

As per the data given out by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) of NASA, the rock is expected to fly past our planet at a speed of 38,624.256 kilometres per hour. The asteroid will come as close as 6.7 million kilometres to the Earth.

 Asteroid wider than a pair of football fields to fly by Earth at a fair distance on 14 September

Known as 2020 QL2, the asteroid is over 393 feet in diameter which is wider than two professional American football fields put together. Image credit: State Farm/Flickr

The near-Earth object (NEO) with its massive size and proximity, however, has no chance of hitting our homeworld, assured the space agency. NASA defines a NEO as a space object that has a perihelion distance less than 1.3 astronomical units (au). Here, perihelion is the point where the Earth is closest to the sun.

Although comets can also be near-Earth objects, NASA says that the majority of the NEOs are asteroids. On the other hand, Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) are those that have the Earth Minimum Orbit Intersection Distance (MOID) of 0.05 au (or 7.4 million kilometres) or less and measure more than 460 feet in diameter.

This asteroid will pass by our planet about 15 days after another potentially hazardous asteroid called '2011 ES4' had flown past our planet. The space rock had come as close as 1.2 lakh kilometre from Earth and NASA had said that it was the closest approach of an asteroid of its size in the ten years to come. The asteroid was between 22 to 50 metres wide and had passed by us on 1 September.


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