NASA is known to monitor asteroids that head towards Earth, having their Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) team keeping watch and scanning for potentially hazardous asteroids.
However, since the sky is pretty vast, they were not able to detect two of the four asteroids that were getting close to our planet.
Asteroids 2020 AC, 2020 AD, 2019 YH2 and 2019 AE3 Heading Towards Earth
The four asteroids whizzed past earth at huge speeds on January 2.
While 2019 YH2 and 2019 AE3 were discovered and monitored from afar, CNEOS did not spot 2020 AC and 2020 AD – both heading towards Earth before the first two.
- 2020 AC has a diameter of around 89 feet and passed by Earth at 1:56 am EST with a speed of 13,000 miles per hour.
- 2020 AD has a diameter of nearly 72 feet and it buzzed our planet at 4:12 am EST with 35,000 miles per hour.
- 2019 YH2 is the largest of the four asteroids, measuring 459 feet and zooming past Earth with 32,000 miles at 4:36 am EST.
- 2019 AE3 was the last asteroid, a 72 feet wide space rock that flew past us at 9:08 am EST, with a speed of 18,000 miles per hour.
Two of the asteroids are classified as Apollo asteroids (2020 AD and 2019 YH2), meaning their orbits are very wide, and the other two (2020 AC and 2019 AE3) have smaller semi-major axis than Earth’s, being classified as Aten asteroids
One of the asteroids discovered a day before it passed by Earth (2020 AD), was the closest to us, getting as near as 556,000 miles. However, it is around twice as far as the distance between us and the moon.
While we can all agree 2020 did not start with a bang, we cannot stop worrying about all those asteroids that are going to come too close to us and it’ll be too late to spot and deflect them, even with all efforts combined.