Asteroid to pass by Earth Sept. 1


Florence, a 2.7 mile (4.4 Kilometers) asteroid, is expected to make it’s way pass Earth on Sept. 1. No need to run for cover; the astroid will be close yet, very far away. The asteroid will pass by at a distance of about 4.4 million miles or 18 Earth-Moon distances.This should be quite the treat for astronomers and amateur astronomers because the asteroid will be close enough for a small telescope to spot.  


Actual photo of asteroid Florence  Courtesy Photo/NASA

Actual photo of asteroid Florence 

Courtesy Photo/NASA

Florence is one of many near-Earth asteroids that are several miles in size, according to NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and NEOWISE. 

“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 (CNEOS) at the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.  

He continued on to say, "Florence is the largest asteroid to pass by our planet this close since the NASA program to detect and track near-Earth asteroids began."  

Scientists are excited about this particular asteroid because it is a great target for ground base radar observations. This close encounter of Florence is a rare opportunity for the scientists to study the astroid up close.  

Schelte “Bobby” Bus, from Siding Spring Observatory in Australia, discovered the asteroid over 36 years ago in March of 1981. He named the asteroid Florence in honor of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.  

According to NASA, Florence will brighten to the ninth magnitude in late August and early September. It will be visible for several nights as it moves through the constellations Piscis Austrinus, Capricornus, Aquarius and Delphinus. 

This years encounter on Sept.1 will be the closest by this asteroid since 1890. This is the closest it will be until after the year 2500.