As countries around the world say ‘good riddance’ until 2020, NASA has warned that a monstrous 220-meter asteroid is heading toward Earth at the start of the new year.
Prior to that, this year’s last asteroid, 2020 YB4, measuring just 36 meters in diameter or about half the wingspan of a 747, passed through Earth shortly after 6 a.m. UTC at a distance of 6 , 1 million kilometers. This means that at least in terms of the threat posed by space rocks, the planet came out of 2020 somewhat untouched.
However, in the first days of January, three additional Small Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) will honor Earth with their presence, for a brief moment.
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Just two days after 2021, the 15-meter asteroid 2019 YB4 will drop to a safe distance of 6.4 million kilometers. The next day, it will be followed by two more pieces of cosmic debris in the form of the 15-meter YA1 2020 and the 21-meter YP4 2020, which will increase to 1.5 and 2.1 million kilometers respectively.
But the biggie will come on January 3, as the relatively mountainous AF23 2003, measuring an impressive 220m in diameter or about as wide as the Golden Gate Bridge is tall, grows to 6.9 million miles.
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