- Apollo-class Asteroid 2019 YM6 is expected to fly by Earth at a speed of around 30,100 miles per hour this weekend.
- Three other asteroids will also make close passes with the planet between now and August 3rd.
- More space news here.
As any regular reader of this website knows, we’ve been lucky over the years when it comes to avoiding being decimated by a stray asteroid.
Numerous space rocks dubbed Near Earth Objects (NEO) by NASA that have been classified as “Potentially Hazardous” have been on “close approach” with Earth and so far we’ve been fortunate to always come away unscathed.
Naturally, every time this has occurred, NASA has said we had nothing to worry about, but what else would they say? Run for the hills?! There is literally nothing we can do to stop an asteroid of significant size if it decided that our number was up as a planet.
All that being said, this coming weekend Apollo-class Asteroid 2019 YM6 will be whizzing by our planet at a speed of around 30,100 miles per hour (or over 8 miles per second).
Asteroid 2019 YM6 is supposed to pass by Earth at a distance of 6,873,099 kilometers (or 4,270,745 miles), assuming the Yarkovsky Effect, which can alter an asteroid’s orbital path, doesn’t take place with the space rock.
2019 YM6 is a very small asteroid whose orbit crosses the orbit of Earth. NASA JPL has classified 2019 YM6 as a “Near Earth Asteroid” due to its orbit’s proximity to Earth, but it is not considered potentially hazardous because computer simulations have not indicated any imminent likelihood of future collision.
2019 YM6 orbits the sun every 401 days (1.10 years), coming as close as 0.81 AU and reaching as far as 1.31 AU from the sun. Based on its brightness and the way it reflects light, 2019 YM6 is probably between 0.101 to 0.226 kilometers in diameter, making it a small to average asteroid, very roughly comparable in size to a school bus or smaller.
However, NASA reports Asteroid 2019 YM6 is approximately 420 feet in size, or the size of a pretty tall building.
A quick look at the orbits of both Earth and Asteroid 2019 YM6 on July 31 show just how close the two will come to colliding.
Also, Asteroid 2019 YM6 isn’t the only large space rock that will be zooming by the planet over the next week.
A 67 foot asteroid, 2020 BW12, will buzz Earth on July 27th, while two more will fly by on August 3rd. Airplane-sized space rock, Asteroid 2020 PN1 will come within 2,290,000 miles of Earth on the 3rd while 210 foot Asteroid 2021 NL4 will come within 3,050,000 miles on the same day.
As always, NASA says we have nothing to worry about, until we do.