Because the asteroid is so large, any type of collision with Earth would be catastrophic. However, as I pointed out above, the asteroid is estimated to approach its closest point to Earth at around 3.2 million miles. NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) announced the close on Wednesday. Figures from CNEOS show it will come within its estimated distance around 8:23 p.m. ET that day.
Of course, the size of this asteroid is only an estimate. This is because measuring its actual size is more difficult than you might think. In most cases, astronomers must rely on how much light an asteroid reflects to determine its size. This is because the larger the asteroid, the brighter it is. Therefore, the brightness of OE2 in 2022 appears to be consistent with other asteroids about 1,200 feet in diameter.
Data shows the asteroid will be traveling at a staggering 72,000 mph as it passes Earth this week. That’s about 40 times faster than a rifle bullet.
Near-Earth Objects, or NEOs, have become a hot topic of discussion in the space community. That’s because there are now more than 29,000 NEOs we know of. And it’s possible that thousands of celestial objects remain undiscovered. These objects are usually asteroids, but astronomers generally refer to anything that passes within 30 million miles of our planet’s orbit as a near-Earth object.
When the new asteroid passes Earth later this week, it will pass more than 3 million miles away. While it’s a safe distance, space agencies are watching it closely.