NASA warned that Earth is about to experience a massive asteroid before Thanksgiving. According to the agency's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), the approaching asteroid is almost twice as big as the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
The incoming asteroid has been identified by the agency as 481394 (2006 SF6). As noted by CNEOS, the space rock is currently moving towards Earth with an average speed of almost 18,000 miles per hour. The asteroid-hunting agency estimated that the space rock has a diameter of around 2,034 feet.
481394 (2006 SF6) is classified as an Aten asteroid. Like other asteroids that belong to this group, 481394 (2006 SF6) has an oval-shaped orbit that occasionally intersects with the Earth as it completes its cycle around the Sun. This usually occurs as the asteroid approaches its farthest point from the giant star.
Earth-crossing orbit and massive size, CNEOS labeled 481394 (2006 SF6) as a potentially hazardous asteroid. According to the agency, these kinds of asteroids pose a threat to Earth.
Agency Potentially Hazardous Asteroids are currently based on parameters that measure the asteroid’s potential to make threatening close approaches to the Earth, ”the agency explained in a statement.
If Specifically, all asteroids with a minimum orbit intersection distance of 0.05 [astronomical units] 22.0 or less are considered [potentially hazardous asteroids], ”CNEOS added.
Given 481394 (2006 SF6) massive s massive size and current velocity, an impact event caused by this asteroid can cause serious destruction on Earth. The resulting impact would be the equivalent of a major city and its neighboring areas.
If the asteroid ends up hitting the ocean, it would generate towering tsunamis that can travel for several miles and wipe out the coastal regions.
According to CNEOS, 481394 (2006 SF6) is expected to fly past Earth on Nov. 20 at 7:01 pm EST, which is about a week before Thanksgiving 2019. During its approach, the asteroid will be around 0.02886 astronomical units or roughly 2.7 million miles from the planet’s center.