We just were part of the biggest astronomical event of the year and here comes another one!
A 4.4-kilometers sized asteroid will pass the Earth on the first days of September. “Florence” is the largest asteroid ever tracked by Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
As it approaches in late August and early September, it is expected to brighten to 9th magnitude, making it easily visible, even using a small telescope.
This event will happen at a 7 million kilometers distance away from the Earth. Of course, you will say that you have already seen many asteroids at a shorter distance, but we assure you none of them had this incredible size.
The September 1 flyby of Florence will provide astronomers with an excellent opportunity to make detailed measurements of a large near-Earth asteroid. In particular, radar scientists expect to obtain high-resolution images of Florence that could reveal surface features as small as about 10 meters (30 feet).
“While many known asteroids have passed by closer to Earth than Florence will on September 1, all of those were estimated to be smaller. Florence is the largest asteroid to pass by our planet this close since the NASA program to detect and track near-Earth asteroids began.” said Paul Chodas, manager of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
Florence was discovered in 1981 and named in the honor of modern nursing founder, Florence Nightingale.