A massive asteroid that maintains regular orbits around bodies in the solar system and that had passed by Earth a few times before flew by again on Friday 13th. The rock travels at an impressive speed of 18,000 miles per hour (or more than 28,000 kilometers per hour), according to NASA.
It is estimated that the next fly-by will take during the evening on December 13. An advanced diagram infers that the approach will follow an intersection with the orbit of our planet. A statement offered by the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) mentions that the asteroid will follow a perpendicular trajectory.
The distance between Earth and the space rock was quite small, measuring 0.03033 astronomical units or approximately 1.9 million miles or 3 million kilometers). NASA classified the massive asteroid under the name of 2019 XO1, and it estimated that the size is on par with that of a Boeing 747.
Massive Asteroid Passed By Earth on Friday 13th
CNEOS has also mentioned that 2019 XO1 is classified as an Aten asteroid, which means that it travels across several celestial bodies found within our solar system, among which we can count the Sun, Venus, Mercury and Earth.
It tends to run into the orbit of the Earth from time to time, especially when it is at a great distance from the Sun. The current trajectory was identified on December 3rd. While it can be quite close to Mercury and Venus, it will not reach the same proximity that is encountered in the case of Earth.
The object was spotted for the first time in November 2013 when it flew by our planet at a distance of 0.09488 astronomical units or approximately 8.8 million times. After it passed by Earth on Friday 13th, this month, the massive asteroid travels through space for a while. It will return in December 2022, when it is thought that it will fly by at a distance of 0.09534 astronomical units or 8.9 million miles (14 million kilometers).