The asteroid dubbed 2019 UD7 is locked in on an ‘Earth close approach” trajectory. NASA predicts the asteroid will zip past our home planet around 10.28pm GMT (6.28pm EDT). When this happens, the asteroid will reach speeds of around 30,109mph (48,456kph).
What do we know about Asteroid 2019 UD7?
Astronomers have classified the speedy asteroid a Near-Earth Object or NEO.
NEOs are all comets and asteroids that orbit the Sun from a distance of 1.3 astronomical units.
According to the European Space Agency (ESA), NEOs warrant interest because they “could potentially hit our planet”.
Depending on their size, speed and composition, these impact could cause “considerable damage”.
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At the lower end of NASA’s estimate, the asteroid is comparable in height to an adult giraffe.
In other words, the asteroid will appear tonight almost twice as far as the Moon is.
NASA said: “As they orbit the Sun, Near-Earth Objects can occasionally approach close to Earth.
“Note that a ‘close’ passage astronomically can be very far away in human terms: millions or even tens of millions of kilometres.”
After tonight’s close approach, the asteroid will visit Earth again on October 17, 2063.
Then the asteroid will approach the Red Planet Mars on December 25, 2078.