The two red lines point to the asteroid 2018 VX1, which is visiting the vicinity of Earth on Saturday.
Credit: Gianluca Masi / Virtual Telescope Project
Three massive asteroids will buzz around the Earth this weekend, and one of them is approaching our planet more than the moon itself.
On Saturday (November 10), the asteroid 2018 VX1 from nearby Earth will zip within about 236,100 miles (380,000 kilometers) of Earth. This is closer than the moon, which lies about 384,400 km as it orbits Earth.
While this meeting of space rocks is near, it will pose no danger to the Earth, said astrophysicist Gianluca Masi, founder and director of the Virtual Telescope Project in Italy, which is broadcasting the live celestial program live from 1pm onwards. EST (18:00 UTC) on Saturday. [Black Marble Images: Earth at Night]
"There is no risk of impact [on Earth]"Said Masi Live Science. While one of them will come basically as close as the moon, that distance is still too much. "
The other two asteroids do not venture so close to Earth, but they still caught the attention of scientists. These include the 2018 VS1 asteroid, which will pass about 838,700 miles (1,38 million km) away from Earth – nearly four times as far from Earth as the moon is – at 9:03 am EST (14:03 UTC).
The 2018 VSI asteroid is between 12 and 28 m in diameter.
Meanwhile, the asteroid 2018 VR1 is expected to fly around the Earth at 9:19 am on Saturday. This asteroid is even more distant – about 129,000 miles (5 million km) from Earth. This asteroid near Earth is between 13 and 30 meters in diameter.
People here on Earth will be able to see the star of the show – asteroid 2018 VX1 – online at about 1:20 pm. EST (6:20 PM UTC), "the time of your minimum distance from us," Masi said. This particular asteroid was discovered by scientists at Mount Lemmon Survey, near Tucson, Arizona, just a few days ago, on November 4. Two days later, the Minor Planet Center announced the discovery, estimating the diameter of the asteroid between 26 and 59 feet (8 and 18 m).
The Virtual Telescope took the photo above the asteroid 2018 VX1 with a unique exposure of 600 seconds on November 8.
"The telescope traced the apparent motion of the asteroid, which is why the stars show long trails," Masi said. "The asteroid looks like a speck of light in the center of the image, marked by two red lines."
Originally published in Live Science.