On September 1, a giant asteroid named Florence with an estimated diameter of 4.3 km will fly past the Earth at the closest distance.
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The asteroid will pass through and be 7 million km from Earth, 18 times the distance between Earth and the Moon, the closest distance to Earth such a large asteroid has ever reached since NASA. started tracking asteroids near Earth about 20 years ago. Through radar observations on the ground, scientists will have a rare opportunity to delve into Florence.
The flight path of the asteroid Florence. Video: NASA.
According to Paul Chodas, manager of the Center for Near-Earth Objects Research (CNEOS) at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in the past there were many small planets that had once passed over Earth at closer distances but Florence is the largest asteroid to pass by our planet at such close distances.
Astronomers first observed Florence in 1981, and this early September passing event was the asteroid’s closest Earth-flight since 1890. According to scientists’ calculations, it wasn’t until 2500 that it got so close to Earth again.
According to NASA, in late August and early September, the asteroid will pass through the constellations Piscis Austrinus, Capricornus, Aquarius and Delphinus. At that time, its brightness increased and the astronomers could clearly observe Florence through a small telescope.
NASA scientists will use ground-based radars including the Goldstone Solar System Radar in California and the National Science Association’s Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico to be able to determine the exact size of the asteroid. even clearly see details on Florence’s at least 10 meters wide surface.