Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 21 September 2019

Asteroid almost the size of Burj Khalifa to pass Earth

The space rock will pass our planet at a speed of 23,112 kilometres per hour on September 14

An asteroid travelling at more than 23,000 km per hour wil have a close encounter with Earth on Sunday, but there is no cause to be alarmed. AFP    
An asteroid travelling at more than 23,000 km per hour wil have a close encounter with Earth on Sunday, but there is no cause to be alarmed. AFP    

An asteroid almost the size of Burj Khalifa will "skim the Earth" in three weeks.

The space rock, called 2000 QW7, is expected to pass our planet at a speed of 23,112 kilometres per hour on September 14, Live Science reported on Thursday.

Measuring between 290 and 650 metres, the asteroid is larger than The Shard in London (310m) but is just shy of the length of the 828-metre Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

The asteroid is about 100m shy of the lengeth of Burj Khalifa. Christopher Pike / Bloomberg
The asteroid is about 200m shy of the lengeth of Burj Khalifa. Christopher Pike / Bloomberg

It is being monitored by Nasa's Centre for Near Earth Object Studies, part of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.

Though it is considered a near-Earth object, 2000 QW7 will not be a danger to our planet. Space materials are considered near-Earth objects if they pass within 1.3 astronomical units of Earth. An astronomical unit is the distance from Earth to the sun, or 149.6 million km.

CNEOS said the asteroid will pass within 0.03564 astronomical units of the Earth - or 5.3 million km away from the surface of our planet.

It is not the first time 2000 QW7 will be passing Earth either. The asteroid orbits the sun, as Earth does, and so occasionally crosses paths with our planet.

The last time it approached Earth was September 1, 2000. The next time it is due to pass by will be October 19, 2038, according to Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The difference between an asteroid and a meteor

Asteroid and meteors are both types of space rocks.

The difference between the two is their distance to the Earth's surface.

According to Nasa, an asteroid is a small, rocky body that orbits the Sun.

Asteroids in our solar system are typically found in the main asteroid belt.

Sometimes they smash into each other and small pieces break off - these are called meteoroids.

If a meteoroid comes close enough to Earth and enters its atmosphere, it vaporises, becoming a meteor: a streak of light in the sky.

Updated: August 23, 2019 02:43 PM

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