The imposing asteroid measures up to 1,410ft (430m) across and is rapidly closing in on Earth. Dubbed 1998 FF14, the asteroid is flying towards our planet on a close approach trajectory. NASA expects Asteroid FF14 to arrive close to Earth on the morning of September 24. When this happens, the space rock will shoot by at breakneck speeds of 22.26km per second or 49,794mph (80,136kph).
Asteroid FF14 is an Apollo-type Near-Earth Object or NEO orbiting the inner circles of the solar system.
Apollo asteroids follow a trajectory similar to the Asteroid 1862 Apollo.
More notably, however, astronomers have ranked FF14 as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid or PHA.
NASA classifies all asteroids measuring more than 459ft (140m) in diameter as PHAs.
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An impact from an asteroid this big threatens damage on a regional or continental scale.
A 2018 report issued by the White House’s Office of Science and Technology, outlined the dangers associated with PHAs.
The report reads: “Larger NEOs greater than 140 metres have the potential to inflict severe damage to entire regions or continents.
“Such objects would strike Earth with a minimum energy of over 60 megatons of TNT, which is more than the most powerful nuclear device ever tested.
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“Fortunately, these are far less common and are easier to detect and track than smaller NEOs.”
On Tuesday, September 24, Asteroid FF14 will approach our planet around 8.27am BST (7.27am UTC).
At its closest, the space rock will approach our planet from a distance of 0.02780 astronomical units (au).
A single astronomical unit equals the distance from Earth to the Sun – about 93 million miles (149.6 million km).
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Asteroid FF14 will considerably trim this down to just 2.58 million miles (4.15 million km).
In humans terms, the flyby might seem like a lifetime away.
But on the larger scale of the solar system, FF14’s approach is a near-miss.
NASA said: “As they orbit the Sun, Near-Earth Objects can occasionally approach close to Earth.
“Note that a ‘close’ passage astronomically can be very far away in human terms: millions or even tens of millions of kilometres.”