An asteroid, as huge as a high-rise building, will pass near the Earth on Tuesday, September 1. Asteroid 2011 ES4 will make a close approach towards Earth and will be closer to our planet than the Moon. Discovered in 2011, the asteroid passes by Earth every nine years. The last time it made a close approach, it was visible from our planet for four days. This time around, it will be closest to the planet than before.
According to NASA, the asteroid's close approach is "close" on an astronomical scale. But does it pose any danger? Will it hit the Earth? The space agency ruled out any such danger of asteroid ES4 hitting the Earth. "Will asteroid 2011 ES4 hit Earth? No! 2011 ES4's close approach is 'close' to an astronomical scale but poses no danger of actually hitting Earth," the NASA Asteroid Watch said in a tweet.
Planetary Defense experts expect the asteroid to safely pass by at least 45,000 miles (792,000 football fields) away on September 1, NASA said.
According to NASA, Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) are currently defined based on parameters that measure the asteroid's potential to make threatening close approaches to the Earth. "Specifically, all asteroids with a minimum orbit intersection distance (MOID) of 0.015 au or less and an absolute magnitude (H) of 22.0 or less are considered PHAs," NASA had said.
The asteroid will travel at a speed of 29,367 km per hour. According to NASA, asteroid 2011 ES4 is a NEO (Near-Earth Object), which will help scientists to study the history of our solar system.