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Asteroid Twice the Size of Qutub Minar Will be Flying Past Earth This Diwali

Image for representative purposes only / News18.

Image for representative purposes only / News18.

Both of these asteroids will not likely be visible to naked eye and only visible through long-exposure photography.

Many states have banned fireworks around Diwali as the patients suffering from COVID-19 will have worsened breathing with a drop in air quality. But worry not as the cosmos will be sending fireworks to our skies. Not exactly to us, but around us.

Two visitors from space will fly by our home planet on the night of November 14 as rockets and fireworks will zoom up from Earth (in states without the ban, of course). These space rocks are Asteroid 2020 TB9 and Asteroid 2020 ST1. However, the Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) says we should not expect fire-show from them.

The centre has a watchlist for any Near-Earth Objects that might be getting too close to comfort. Even though both of these asteroids are NEO – an asteroid or minor planet or any other space rock whose orbit is close to or intersects Earth's orbit – they will not be entering our atmosphere. Both NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and CNEOS confirm that they will not be crashing into Earth or enter the inside orbit, according to the SkyLive.

Apart from these two, Asteroid 2020 VL1 and Asteroid 2019 VL5 will be flying past Earth on November 13 and 15 respectively. 2020 VL1 will be at thrice the distance between Earth and moon, while 2019 VL5 will be nine times farther.

The other two, ones flying by on November 14, will be slightly nearer. 2020 TB9, the smaller asteroid at a size of 30 meters, the length of an average aircraft, will be 5 million kilometres away. It will fly at a velocity of at 21,600 kilometers per hour (kmph) as it makes the close approach to Earth.

Asteroid 2020 ST1 is the larger of the two with a size of 175 meters. To put it in perspective, Qutub Minar is 73 metres tall; so around 2.3 Qutub Minar towers laid end to end will form 2020 ST1’s diameter. It will be at a distance of 7.3 million kilometers while it zoom past Earth at a speed of 30,000 kmph. Both of these asteroids will not likely be visible to naked eye and only visible through long-exposure photography.


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