Asteroid Florence is a huge 3 mile wide rock. In the next 24 hours this rock will safely fly by the Earth at a distance of 4.4 million miles.
Doesn’t that sound far away? Yes. It is 18 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon.
Then why is It such a huge deal? NASA says Florence is the largest asteroid to pass by our planet this close since their programme to detect and track near-Earth asteroids began. There have been many asteroids that have passed closer to earth, but all much smaller.
Why is NASA tracking objects that fly near the Earth? To be able to analyse the risk of any object impacting the Earth. A big object crashing into the Earth could be quite catastrophic!
So take out your telescopes! Asteroid Florence will be visible in the night sky through a modest telescope. It will be visible for several nights (Sept 1st-3rd, 2017) as it moves through the constellations Piscis Austrinus, Capricornus, Aquarius and Delphinus.
Photo Credit : NASA