Three huge asteroids are set to zip past Earth this evening, NASA has revealed.
According to the space agency, the first passing (asteroid 2019 YR3) will be at 17:39 GMT, with the next two shortly after at 18:39 (asteroid 2019 YL3) and 19:59 (asteroid YS3).
The space rocks range in size from an estimated 18 metres in diameter up to a whopping 78 metres in diameter.
At the higher end, that means one of the asteroids could be around four-fifths the size of London’s iconic Big Ben!
Thankfully, the asteroids will pass our planet at very safe distances, with the closest of the three passing us at a distance of 411,000 miles.
While this might sound far, it’s actually classed as a ‘close approach’ by NASA.
Thankfully, the chances of these particular asteroids hitting our planet are very low.
However, NASA hasn’t written off the chances of an asteroid collision in the near future.
NASA discovers around 30 new ‘near-Earth objects’ (NEOs) every week, and at the start of 2019 had discovered a total of more than 19,000 objects.
However, the space agency has warned its NEO catalogue isn’t complete, meaning an unpredicted impact could occur at ‘any time.’
NASA explained: “Experts estimate that an impact of an object the size of the one that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 2013 – approximately 55 feet (17 meters) in size – takes place once or twice a century.
“Impacts of larger objects are expected to be far less frequent (on the scale of centuries to millennia).
“However, given the current incompleteness of the NEO catalogue, an unpredicted impact – such as the Chelyabinsk event – could occur at any time.”
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