The largest object to skim past our planet since NASA began recording such events, will fly by on September 1. Asteroid Florence measuring 2.7 miles across will safely pass by 4.4 million miles.
In no way should this be alarming and it isn’t an apocalyptic event by any means. But it does show just how irrelevant Earth and its inhabitants are in the grand scheme of the infinitely massive universe. If nothing else, it should put things into perspective.
Named after Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, the asteroid will be the biggest to pass by earth this closely since NASA started tracking these types of near-Earth asteroids, an agency official said. “While many known asteroids have passed by closer to Earth than Florence will on September 1, all of those were estimated to be smaller,” Paul Chodas, manager of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said in a statement.
Astronomer Schelte “Bobby” Bus first spotted asteroid Florence in 1981 at Siding Spring Observatory in Australia. The flyby on September 1st is the asteroid’s closest approach since 1890 and it won’t get this close to Earth again until after 2500, according to the statement.
As asteroid Florence passes by Earth, astronomers will take the opportunity to capture radar images to learn more about the asteroid’s exact size and detailed surface features. Amateur astronomers will be able to view the asteroid using small telescopes as early as late August, when Florence begins to brighten in the night sky and streaks through the constellations Piscis Austrinus, Capricornus, Aquarius, and Delphinus.
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Contributed by Dawn Luger of The Daily Sheeple.