Asteroid to make safe pass by Earth this weekend


A almost mile-wide asteroid with its own "moon" will make a pass by Earth on Saturday traveling about 48,000 miles per hour. The asteroid passed at a speed of 22 km per second near the Earth at 02:05 GMT.

Binary asteroid system 1999 KW4, a almost mile-wide walnut-shaped chunk of space rock with its own moon, will pass by Earth on Friday, CNet reports Its closest approach is projected to be 3,219,955 miles from Earth, and while this is a healthy distance from us, it still falls within the range of 20 lunar distances-or just over 4.6 million miles-to be considered "potentially hazardous". The asteroid will also be from afar the most massive space rock to fly that close to us to equal the 20 lunar distances.

It is one of the largest members of Aten class of space rocks, a group of asteroids that cross the orbits of Earth and Venus.

In the night of may 26 closer to the Earth double asteroid 66391 (1999 KW4). The main object, shaped like a spinning top with a pronounced ridge around its equator, is estimated to measure around 0.8 miles in diameter.

1999 KW4 is a well-studied asteroid, with more than 3,000 measurements taken of it since it was found according to the Las Cumbres Observatory in California.

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"The asteroid will approach from the south, and the first day of visibility also coincides with the closest approach", NASA reported.

But don't worry. Though it is classified as "potentially hazardous" by the Minor Planet Center, binary asteroid 1999 KW4 serves little threat.

The binary asteroid's passing near our planet will be visible with the naked eye starting with May the 24th and will end on May the 27th.

Astronomers named it 1999 KW4.

The upcoming approach will provide even more insight into its behavior, which will prove useful for upcoming missions supported by NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office that aim to study similar systems. NASA predicts the imposing space rock will shoot past Earth on the morning of Thursday, May 30.