Just two weeks after a trio of asteroids swung by our planet on November 10 — one of them coming in closer than the moon, as the Inquisitr reported at the time — another space rock is due to zoom past Earth this weekend.
Known as asteroid 2009 WB105, this particular space rock is considerably larger than the previous three and will dart past our planet on Sunday morning, making a close appearance at around 7.14 a.m. EST.
At the same time, asteroid 2009 WB105 will hurtle past Earth a lot faster than its three predecessors, flying through space at a speed of about 42,240 miles per hour, reports Asteroids Near Earth. That's almost twice as fast as asteroid 2018 VS1 — the fastest of the previous trio — which slipped by our planet on November 10 at about 9:03 a.m. EST.
While our last three space visitors have been relatively small space rocks — the biggest of them measuring nearly 100 feet across — asteroid 2009 WB105 has an estimated diameter ranging from 173.8 feet to 393.7 feet. This means that this object could be even larger than the Statue of Liberty, states the Express.
"A 393.7-foot-wide asteroid is approximately 1.25 times larger than Big Ben's clock tower in London and 1.29 times as tall as the Statue of Liberty in New York."According to the Center for Near Earth Object Studies at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), asteroid 2009 WB105 is classified as a near-Earth asteroid on an Earth Close Approach path. While the space rock doesn't pose any danger to our planet -- and will safely swoop past us on November 25 -- it will, however, come close enough to Earth for the space agency to keep an eye on it.
It's trajectory through our solar system will bring asteroid 2009 WB105 within 3.61 million miles of our planet — or about 15 times the distance between Earth and the moon. In fact, the space rock will skim past our planet at exactly 15.14 lunar distances (LD), notes the JPL.
Not Our First Rodeo
First spotted in 2009, asteroid 2009 WB105 has been coming around our neck of the woods for a long time. In the past 20 years, the space rock has made eight flybys of the Earth. The upcoming visit will be the ninth one since 1998 — and the closest approach recorded so far.
The last time the asteroid popped by for a visit was exactly three years ago, on November 25, 2015. As the Minor Planet Center noted at the time, the asteroid came within 3.65 million miles from Earth — or 15.31 lunar distances.The asteroid's next flyby of the Earth is announced for November 25, 2021, when 2009 WB105 will creep even closer to our planet, sliding in at 15.04 LD.
The space rock's closest-ever approach to Earth will take place six years from now — on November 25, 2024 — when asteroid 2009 WB105 is slated to skate past our planet at a distance of 3.59 million miles.