A giant asteroid called 2010 FR will fly pass the earth today. The asteroid is enormous, said to be about twice the size of the Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. NASA is tracking the asteroid as it flies by the Earth, but it has nearly a zero percent chance of hitting the earth.
NASA expects 2010 FR to pass by our planet at a distance of 4.6 million miles. That is about 19 times the distance from the earth to the moon. The physical dimensions of the asteroid are about 886 feet high and essentially the same in width. 2020 FR is classified as an Apollo category asteroid because it does cross the path of Earth’s orbit.
Besides being a large asteroid, it’s also traveling extremely fast at 14 kilometers per second. Scientists are taking the opportunity to study the asteroid as it zipps past our planet. The Virtual Telescope Project will be taking images of the space rock.
Taking images of an asteroid the still very far from our planet is a difficult thing to do. The Virtual Telescope Project says that photos it has taken were snapped under less than ideal conditions. The image below shows the asteroid when it was about 7.8 million kilometers from Earth. It’s the.pointed out by the arrow in the center of the picture.
The asteroid is considered “potentially hazardous” because while it’s going to pass far from Earth today, it could collide with the planet at some point in the future. As asteroids make their often long orbits, interactions with the sun or other planets could change their orbit. Any asteroid with a minimum orbit intersection distance of 0.05 AU or less is considered potentially hazardous.