On Sunday, the Earth is visited by a fairly large asteroid. Known as the Asteroid 2019 LC5, this particular space rock was not discovered until the beginning of this year, but it is a frequent traveler through our corner of space.
The space rock, first discovered at the end of May, was classified as a near-Earth object (NEO). As such, it was closely watched by the NASA Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), which closely monitored its trajectory and proximity to planet Earth.
As CNEOS explains, NEOs are celestial objects, such as comets or asteroids, "orbited into orbit by the nearby planets that allow them to enter Earth's neighborhood."
terms: millions or even tens of thousands of kilometers. After a 14-day observation of the orbit of the asteroid in a total of 37 observations, scientists from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) concluded that LC5 2019 was an Apollo-type asteroid.
This means that the space rock can not only reach our planet on its journey around the sun, but also occasionally can cross the Earth orbit, as NASA emphasizes.
The notable thing about asteroid 2019 LC5 is that it regularly swings around the earth twice a year – once in late June and once in early November. And according to a recent report by the JPL, the object will fly over the earth for the first time in two years this weekend.
Data released earlier this week by the JPL show that the 2019 LC5 asteroid will approach the Earth tomorrow afternoon. It is estimated that the space rock has a diameter of between 30 and 60 meters and is flying past the close encounter with Earth at 17:18. ET on June 23rd.
The moment the asteroid approaches the surface of the planet, it will race through space at breakneck speeds in excess of 37,000 km / h. While an object of this size and speed may raise serious concerns, if it moves too close for comfort, NASA assures that tomorrow's flyby will be absolutely safe.
In fact, the asteroid will pass us at a considerable speed harmless distance from the surface of the planet, only within 3.2 million miles from Earth. To put that into perspective, that's almost 14 times the distance between Earth and the Moon.
In a few months, the asteroid 2019 LC5 will come back for the second time this year. The next flyby of planet Earth is expected to take place on November 1, bringing the space rock only 35.7 million miles from the Earth's surface.
Interestingly, every year, as it swings through our corner of the earth, the object follows the same solar system pattern. His summer flights bring much closer to planet earth than the subsequent autumn visits. This also applied to the encounters of the last year.
The same will happen in 2022, when the 2019 LC5 asteroid will appear for two more annual visits.