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Biggest asteroid to pass near Earth in 2021 is also one of the fastest

5 Jan 2021, 17:00 UTC
Biggest asteroid to pass near Earth in 2021 is also one of the fastest
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Asteroid 2001 FO32 on approach to Earth’s vicinity on March 1, 2021. The asteroid will pass within about 5 lunar distances on March 21, 2021. See orbit simulation. Image via SpaceReference.org.
The biggest known asteroid to pass in 2021 will sweep by on March 21. Asteroid 2001 FO32 is estimated to be about .6 miles (1 km) in diameter, not quite as long as the Golden Gate Bridge, but comparable in length. Although there’s no risk of impact, the space rock is of interest also because it’s one of the fastest space rocks known to fly by Earth. It’s traveling at about 76,980 miles per hour (123,887 km/h) or 21 miles (34.4 km) per second, relative to Earth. In contrast, Earth travels around the sun at about 18 miles (30 km) per second. Since 2001 FO32 is good-sized and occasionally passes near Earth, it’s been classified as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid. Its orbit is well known, and it poses no risk of impact.
On March 21, 2021, FO32’s closest approach to Earth will occur at 16:03 UTC; translate UTC to your time. At its closest, it’ll be about 5 lunar distances away, or about 1.3 million miles (2,016,351 km). ...

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