Largest asteroid in a century to whiz by Sept 1
The largest asteroid in more than a century will whiz safely past Earth on September 1 at a safe but unusually close distance of about 4.4 million miles (7 million kilometers), NASA said.
The asteroid was discovered in 1981, and is named Florence after the famed 19th century founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale.
“Florence is the largest asteroid to pass this close to our planet since the first near-Earth asteroid was discovered over a century ago,” said a US space agency statement.
It is one of the biggest asteroids in the Earth’s vicinity, and measures about 2.7 miles (4.4 kilometers) wide—or about the size of 30 Egyptian pyramids stuck together.
“While many known asteroids have passed by closer to Earth than Florence will on September 1, all of those were estimated to be smaller,” said Paul Chodas, manager of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies.