The three asteroids will fly past within a matter of hours.
The three asteroids will fly past within a matter of hours.

Three asteroids heading towards us

A TRIO of asteroids will skim past Earth in a matter of hours this weekend. The biggest measures 30 metres across - more than twice the length of a standard city bus.

Asteroids regularly pass close to Earth, so there's no need to panic.

In fact, NASA has designated 10 "near-Earth objects" as making a "close approach" during the month of November alone.

"As they orbit the Sun, Near-Earth Objects can occasionally approach close to Earth," the US space agency explained.

It's also important to remember that a "close approach" might not be as close as you think.

The three asteroids will fly past within a matter of hours.
The three asteroids will fly past within a matter of hours.

The nearest asteroid will only come as close as 0.00255 astronomical units - around 336,000 kilometres away.

But what's exciting is the fact that three will pass near Earth on Sunday between 1am and 6am AEST.

The first asteroid to makes its passing is called 2018 VS1, skirting Earth at 1:03am on Sunday, November 11.

It's believed to measure up to 28 metres across, and will fly by at a distance of 1,392,756 kilometres - fairly close in astronomical terms.

This asteroid is the fastest, moving at 10.61 kilometres per second, relative to Earth's own speed. The next fly-by will take place just 16 minutes later, at 1:19 am.

This involves the asteroid 2018 VR1, which is a little wider at 30 metres in diameter.

NASA expects this asteroid to travel past Earth at a slightly slower velocity of 9.28 kilometres per second, again relative to Earth.

But it's going to be much farther from Earth, at a distance of 5 million kilometres.

According to some estimates, Earth is due for a big collision.
According to some estimates, Earth is due for a big collision.

Lastly, we're expecting the asteroid 2018 VX1 to make its closest approach to Earth at 5:26am.

This asteroid will make the closest approach to Earth of any asteroid in November, at roughly 336,000 kilometres away.

It's the smallest of the three, measuring anywhere from 8 metres to 18 metres across. 2018 VX1 is also the slowest in the trio, moving at a speed of 6.06 kilometres per second relative to Earth.

Sadly it's very difficult to see asteroids with a telescope, because they're often very small and faint - with varying levels of reflectiveness.

The best method for amateurs is astrophotography, which involves taking several pictures of the night sky.

It's possible to then compare the images and then look out for small objects that have changed position.

This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission.


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