An asteroid dubbed 2019 YB1 is set to skim past Earth on Christmas Day at around 11:41 GMT, according to NASA
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This Christmas morning, Santa could be joined in the sky by a huge asteroid , NASA has revealed.
An asteroid dubbed 2019 YB1 is set to skim past Earth on Christmas Day at around 11:41 GMT, according to the space agency.
The space rock is estimated to measure between 13 and 28 metres in diameter. At the higher end of that estimate, it suggests that 2019 YB1 could be around three times the size of a London bus!
During the passing, the asteroid will be around 993,000 miles from our planet. While this might sound far away, it’s deemed a ‘close approach by NASA’.
And while the asteroid won’t be visible with the naked eye, if it was you’d blink and miss it – the space rock will be travelling at 12,303mph during the passing!
Thankfully, the chances of this particular asteroid hitting our planet are very low.
However, NASA hasn’t written off the chances of an asteroid collision in the near future.
NASA discovers around 30 new ‘near-Earth objects’ (NEOs) every week, and at the start of 2019 had discovered a total of more than 19,000 objects.
However, the space agency has warned its NEO catalogue isn’t complete, meaning an unpredicted impact could occur at ‘any time.’
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NASA explained: “Experts estimate that an impact of an object the size of the one that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 2013 – approximately 55 feet (17 meters) in size – takes place once or twice a century.
“Impacts of larger objects are expected to be far less frequent (on the scale of centuries to millennia).
“However, given the current incompleteness of the NEO catalogue, an unpredicted impact – such as the Chelyabinsk event – could occur at any time.”