Although asteroids often make close approaches to Earth, today is special as NASA expects as many as 5 asteroids to make close approaches to Earth. As these space rocks revolve around the Sun in their elliptical orbits, the asteroids also rotate, sometimes quite erratically, tumbling as they go. Sometimes, interaction with a planet’s gravitational field knocks these asteroids off their trajectories and sends them towards a planet like Earth for potential impact.
Asteroid 2017 BM123 information
According to the information released by NASA, an asteroid, given the designation of Asteroid 2017 BM123, is travelling towards Earth and is expected to make a close approach with Earth as soon as today, March 3. Although this asteroid is not a planet-killer, it is considerably larger than other asteroids which often make their way towards Earth. With a width of nearly 190 feet, Asteroid 2017 BM123 can be compared to an aircraft in terms of size.
NASA has revealed that Asteroid 2017 BM123 will make its Earth approach at a distance of 4.6 million kilometers. It is already travelling towards Earth, at a staggering speed of approximately 28138 kilometers per hour.
How are Asteroids named?
According to ESA, the process of assigning a provisional designation to an asteroid begins when a single observer detects it on two consecutive nights and then sends their findings to the Minor Planet Centre of the International Astronomical Union (IAU). The IAU assigns a provisional designation, which typically consists of a serial number like “1992 KD”. The provisional designation includes the year of the asteroid’s discovery, followed by two letters that indicate the order of its discovery during that year.