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Watch two bus-sized asteroids make a dangerously close pass by Earth

2022 NE and 2022 NF are two asteroids detected only two days before they each came within as little as 55,000 miles of Earth.

Published Jul 7, 2022 9:16 AM CDT   |   Updated Fri, Jul 29 2022 6:28 PM CDT

The asteroids were only discovered on Monday, July 4th, 2022, about two days before they had close encounters with Earth.

The Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) at the Haleakala Observatory in Hawaii was responsible for identifying the two near-Earth asteroids (NEAs), classified as 2022 NE and 2022 NF. 2022 NE spans roughly 20 feet (~6 meters), about the size of a bus, while 2022 NF is a bit larger at around 23 feet (~7 meters).

2022 NE came within 84,000 miles (135,000 kilometers) of Earth on July 6th, and the following day at 14:00 UTC, 2022 NF came even closer, to within 55,000 miles (89,000 kilometers) from Earth, just 23% of the distance the Moon is from the Earth on average. Astronomer Gianluca Masi, the founder of The Virtual Telescope Project, livestreamed the event, observing it with a 17-inch PlaneWave telescope.

According to NASA, a potentially hazardous asteroid (PHA) measures at least 460 feet (140 meters) in size, meaning 2022 NE and 2022 NF don't qualify, despite coming much closer than the threshold of within 4.6 million miles (7.5 million kilometers) of Earth's orbit around the Sun. NASA monitors PHAs and NEAs directly with its Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) while also funding other observatories like Pan-STARRS.

Watch two bus-sized asteroids make a dangerously close pass by Earth 01 |
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