The Central for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) has revealed that five asteroids will pass by close to Earth on Wednesday (January 6). Two of the five asteroids, 2016 CO247 and 2008 AF4, are reportedly bigger than the Eiffel Tower.
The five asteroids that are travelling close to Earth are being recorded for two reasons. The first being that they are closer to Earth than 7.5 million kilometres (19.5 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon) and the second reason is that they are bigger than 150 metres.
The five asteroids will pass by the planet at different times and speed. The names of the five asteroids are – 2021 AC (travelling at 50,652 kilometres per hour), 2016 CO247, (travelling at 60,228 kilometres per hour), 2021 AJ (travelling at 45,648 kilometres per hour), 2018 KP1 (travelling at 15,948 kilometres per hour) and 2008 AF4 (travelling at 39,564 kilometres per hour).
Reports state that even if the smallest asteroid of the five, dubbed 2021 AJ, collides with the Earth, its speed is capable of releasing a lot of energy, similar to the bomb blast in Hiroshima. According to experts, the size of the asteroid usually matters to determine whether it is a threat to us or not, but the speed of an asteroid might be equally threatening.
The largest asteroid of the five, named 2008 AF4, which is around half a kilometre wide could be equivalent of 25 megatons to 50 megatons, similar to the largest nuclear bombs that we have today.
The asteroids would have been a potential threat to the Earth if they would have crashed into Earth. However, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), none of the five asteroids that will fly by the Earth on January 6 is a threat.
The five asteroids will pass by the Earth at different times – 2021 AC will pass by at 3:27 am (GMT), 2016 CO247 will pass by at 4:09 am (GMT), 2021 AJ will pass by at 11:38 am (GMT), 2018 KP1 will pass by at 13:21 pm (GMT) and 2008 AF4 will pass by at 21:52 pm (GMT).