On September 1st, an asteroid named Florence will pass by Earth at a distance of 145 million miles, making it the largest asteroid to come that close since record keeping began.
The asteroid is 2.7 miles across, coming the closest it’s been to Earth since 1890 according to calculations. The next time it will be this close to Earth is apparently the year 2500.
(Image credit: Yahoo)
“While many known asteroids have passed by closer to Earth than Florence will … all of those were estimated to be smaller,” said Paul Chodas, manager of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at NASA.
“NASA will be tracking the asteroid during the flyby and until September 8. Astronomers will use the Goldstone Solar System Radar in California and the National Science Foundation’s Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico to study the asteroid. They hope to get surface details up to around 30 feet and an accurate size.
They should also find out if Florence is part of a binary system, with a companion asteroid flying alongside it. NASA said that if this is the case, the chances of detecting it are “excellent.””
To learn whether or not a giant asteroid could actually be a binary system of two objects orbiting each other is fascinating.
Maybe an asteroid could spin so rapidly it became egg shaped, like our own Solar System’s dwarf planet Haumea. Haumea spins so fast it is shaped like an egg.
(Image credit: Giphy)
All kinds of strange dynamics can be found on asteroids, the moons of large planets in our Solar System, and wherever else we look.