Asteroid the size of a bus will pass near Earth today

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Thursday, September 24, 2020
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The object is the size of a small bus and will be "in the neighborhood" on Thursday at a distance of about 13,000 miles above our planet's surface.

An asteroid the size of a school bus will zoom past Earth Thursday, according to NASA.

NASA says the 15 to 30 foot wide near-Earth asteroid (NEA) will pass at a distance of about 13,000 miles above the planet's surface.

Although the asteroid is not on an impact trajectory with Earth, if it were, it would most likely break up high in the atmosphere, becoming a bright fireball known as a meteor.

"There are a large number of tiny asteroids like this one, and several of them approach our planet as close as this several times every year," said Paul Chodas, director of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in southern California. "In fact, asteroids of this size impact our atmosphere at an average rate of about once every year or two."

CNEOS scientists determined that the asteroid, dubbed 2020 SW, will make its closest approach at 4:12 a.m. PDT (7:12 a.m. EDT) on Sept. 24 over the Southeastern Pacific.

After passing by, NASA says 2020 SW will continue around the Sun, not reaching the Earth's vicinity again until 2041.

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