Since World Asteroid Day (June 30), fascination mixes with fear when considering the latest and upcoming asteroid flybys .
As Katharina Buchholz of Statista details, according to NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies , some big chunks have already passed a bit too close this year, including asteroid 1989 JA on May 27 , 2001 CB21 on March 4, and 1994 PC1 on January 18.
As asteroid diameters are normally given as ranges, all of these celestial objects have a maximum possible extent of over 1,000 meters, and in the case of 1989 JA, almost double that at 1,800 meters. Due to its size, 1989 JA was already discovered in 1989, as its name suggests. In recent years, scientists have discovered more and more near-Earth asteroids , including many small ones.
Although they are smaller, these asteroids could also cause considerable damage if they collide with Earth.
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1989 JA may be the largest of the asteroids flown by this year, but the rock passes at a safe distance of about four million kilometers, or five times the distance between Earth and the Moon. Two next flybys of smaller asteroids will occur at a much closer distance considering the most likely trajectory – just 1.1 million and 0.8 million kilometers away – roughly the distance between Earth and the Moon.
In November and December, 2005 LW3 and 2010 XC15 will pass quite close to Earth.
Both objects have a maximum diameter of about 300 meters, the size of a football field.
These three asteroids have been declared potentially hazardous asteroids by NASA.