8 Near-Earth Asteroids will pass near Earth in the next two months with asteroid 2021 SM3 first on Friday. Credit: Ron Miller

8 Near-Earth Asteroids the Size of the Great Pyramid to Pass by Earth

Eight potentially hazardous asteroids will pass near Earth before the end of November starting from this week.

This week, an asteroid only found earlier this year will fly past our planet – asteroid 2021 SM3. The object, which is classified as potentially hazardous, will approach Earth on October 15 and will be the first of several such flybys in the coming months.


Asteroid 2021 SM3

The diameter of the asteroid is estimated at 160 meters, that is, it is 20% larger than the Cheops pyramid. The celestial body will approach the Earth at a distance of 4.5 million kilometers, which is much closer than any of the planets of the solar system, but farther than the moon.

Potentially Hazardous

The asteroid belongs to the class of potentially hazardous since NASA classifies all objects that fly less than 190 million kilometers from Earth into this category. 2021 SM3 belongs to the Apollo group – the largest group of near-Earth asteroids whose orbits cross the orbit of our planet.

The orbit of asteroid 2021 SM3

It has an elongated orbit. Its maximum distance from the Sun is 337 million km, and the minimum is 117 million km. A year on this object stretches as much as 682 Earth days. Partially, its orbit crosses the Earth, but it does not pose a threat to us yet.

First of many asteroid flybys in October and November

It has been noted that asteroid 2021 SM3 will not be the largest object to pass by Earth before the end of October. It will be followed by asteroids 1996 VB3 and 2017 SJ20 on October 20th and 25th.

1996 VB3 – October 20

After asteroid 2021 SM3 goes by, the even larger 1996 VB3 will pass closer to our planet. Estimations suggest that the object is about 230 meters in size and will pass around 3.2 million kilometers away from Earth. Of course, the object does not pose any danger to our planet. This flyby will happen on October 20.

2017 SJ20 – October 25

The last “potentially dangerous” body to pass near Earth in October is asteroid 2017 SJ20. Astronomers are uncertain about the exact diameter of the object – it has been said to be between 90 and 200 meters. It will approach our planet at a distance of around 7.1 million kilometers on October 25.

2017 TS3 – November 2

The first asteroid flyby for November will include an asteroid estimated to be between 98 and 220 meters in diameter. The object, dubbed 2017 TS3, will pass at around 5.3 million kilometers from Earth.

2004 UE – November 13

This asteroid is potentially the largest object to pass near our planet by the end of the year. Dubbed 2004 UE, this asteroid has been estimated to be between 170 and 380 meters in size and will pass at around 4.2 million kilometers on November 13.

2016 JG12 and 1982 HR – November 20/21

Two flybys will occur on November 20 and 21. Asteroid 2016 JG12 has been estimated to be around 190 meters in diameter while 1982 HR is quite more massive – around 300 meters long. Both bodies will pass at a distance of more than 5.5 million kilometers from Earth.

1994 WR12 – November 29

The last notable asteroid flyby will happen on November 29 at a distance of 6.1 million kilometers. The object, dubbed 1994 WR12, has been estimated to be between 92 and 210 meters long.


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Sources:

DNA India. (2021, October 11). 8 massive asteroids larger than the pyramids head towards Earth in October-November.
Lea, R. (2021, October 8). Asteroid the size of Great Pyramid of Giza to pass Earth next week. Newsweek.
Reich, A. (n.d.). Multiple asteroids larger than pyramids head towards Earth. The Jerusalem Post

Written by Vladislav Tchakarov

Hello, my name is Vladislav and I am glad to have you here on Curiosmos. My experience as a freelance writer began in 2018 but I have been part of the Curiosmos family since mid-2020. As a history student, I have a strong passion for history and science, and the opportunity to research and write in this field on a daily basis is a dream come true.

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