An Asteroid as Big as the Great Pyramid of Giza Will Whiz Past the Earth on Wednesday

The space rock is travelling at 42,840 miles per hour and weighs about 5.75 million tons

Geezer

An asteroid almost as big as the Great Pyramid of Giza will whizz past Earth – closer than the Moon – on Wednesday. It will pass us at a minimum distance of roughly 219,748 miles, which may sound like a long way, but in cosmological terms, that counts as a close scrape.

The moon is 238,900 miles from Earth and that distance is known as 1 LD (lunar distance).

Called 2019 OD, the asteroid is 394 feet wide and is traveling at a speed of 42,882 miles per hour. It was spotted just three weeks ago and is expected to hurtle past our little blue-green planet at 9:31 a.m. Eastern. This is the 31st known asteroid to fly by Earth within 1 LD since the start of the 2019 and the largest.

An asteroid hitting the Earth as shown in the 1998 movie Deep Impact CREDIT: Paramount Pictures
An asteroid hitting the Earth as shown in the 1998 movie Deep Impact CREDIT: Paramount Pictures

2019 DO is an Apollo-class NEO (near-Earth object) and was first observed at ATLAS-HKO, Haleakala, Hawaii. However, there’s no reason to panic: This asteroid hasn’t been classified as hazardous by NASA and poses very low risk of hitting the Earth.

The result of an asteroid hitting the Earth as shown in the 1998 movie Deep Impact CREDIT: Paramount Pictures
The result of an asteroid hitting the Earth as shown in the 1998 movie Deep Impact CREDIT: Paramount Pictures

But 2019 OD isn’t the only asteroid that’s been predicted to hurtle past our homeworld this week.

Asteroid 2015 HM10 is a second largest of the three and could be up to 361 feet wide, will also approach towards the Earth on Wednesday. It’s traveling at 21,240 miles per hour, but will be just under three million miles away when it passes our planet at around 9:30 a.m. Eastern.

The third and final asteroid to approach Earth on Wednesday will be 2019 OE. It will be the slowest out of this group at 20,160 miles per hour and is also the smallest, at 561 metres wide. It will whiz past the Earth at around 10:35 a.m. Eastern – but like 2019 OD – it will be inside 1 LD at a distance of 97,706 miles away from Earth.

The number of asteroid passes within 1 LD was higher in 2018 at this point in the year CREDIT: watchers.news
The number of asteroid passes within 1 LD was higher in 2018 at this point in the year CREDIT: watchers.news
Media via Paramount Pictures, watchers.news, Nina Aldin Thune