NASA asteroid tracker: A 180FT asteroid will approach the planet tomorrow at 13,500mph

The formidable asteroid, dubbed Asteroid 2019 LB, will shoot past the Earth on Wednesday, June 12. NASA’s asteroid trackers at the California Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) have warned the asteroid will fly by on a so-called Earth-Close Approach trajectory. The news comes a month after astronomers first observed the asteroid in space on May 7. And according to NASA’s JPL, the asteroid will make its closest approach around 3.38pm BST tomorrow (10.38am EST).

Asteroid LB is an Apollo-type space rock zipping around the inner circles of the solar system.

The JPL estimates LB measures somewhere in the range of 82ft to 180.5ft (25m to 55m) in diameter.

At the upper end of NASA’s estimate, the space rock is comparable in size to about six-and-a-half London double-decker buses.

And if that is not terrifying enough, the asteroid is flying around the Sun at speeds exceeding 6.05km per second or 13,533mph (21,780kph).

On this speedy orbit, the asteroid follows a path similar to its namesake asteroid, 1862 Apollo.

And because the asteroid’s trajectory does not take it beyond the Asteroid Belt in-between Mars and Jupiter, NASA classifies it as a Near-Earth Object (NEO).

According to NASA, an NEO is an “asteroid or comet with a perihelion distance less than or equal to 1.3 astronomical units”.

One astronomical unit translates into about 93 million miles (149.6 million km), which is the distance between the Earth and the Sun.

What this means, is asteroids like LB orbit the Sun from a maximum distance of around 120.8 million miles (194.5 million km).

Near-Earth Objects can occasionally approach close to Earth


And occasionally, these imposing space rocks will cross paths with the Earth’s own orbit of the Sun.

NASA said: “As they orbit the Sun, Near-Earth Objects can occasionally approach close to Earth.

“Note that a ‘close’ passage astronomically can be very far away in human terms: millions or even tens of millions of kilometres.”

So how close will the asteroid fly by the Earth tomorrow afternoon?

According to NASA’s calculations, the space rock’s closest approach will equal around 0.02336 astronomical units.

In other words, the space rock will safely shoot by from a distance of more than 2.1 million miles (3.49 million km).

The distance in question is roughly the equivalent of 9.09 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon.

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