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Five Asteroids Will Approach Earth in January Alone

by Michael Freeman
Near-Earth asteroid, computer artwork.

We’ve seen a lot of asteroid-related news the past few months and January 2022 is looking to start out strong. NASA recently stated in this month alone we can expect five asteroids to approach Earth.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) recently published the information from their research development lab. Using their Asteroid Watch dashboard, the organization learned the asteroids will come in close proximity to our planet. However, there’s no real risk, as all of them will still be a significant distance away from Earth.

The first asteroid is called 2021 YQ. It is roughly the size of a large commercial airliner or around 200 feet. Its trajectory is slated to come within 1,330,000 miles of Earth tomorrow. The next asteroid, 2021 YX, will also come close to us tomorrow, though it will be about a million miles further away. 2021 YX is about 100 feet wide and has never approached Earth before.

The next asteroid is small in comparison, being the size of a bus at 24-feet wide. 2014 YE15 is the furthest away from the five, being a whopping 4,600,000 miles away. Hot on its heels comes 2020 API and will come the closest at just over 1 million miles on January 7. Luckily, it’s a mere 13 feet wide.

Finally, the last asteroid sees its approach on January 11. 2013 YD48 is 340 feet tall, rivaling famed clock tower Big Ben, and will come within 3,480,000 of Earth.

It should be noted several of these asteroids will either approach Earth again or have come close to us once already. So, if you miss looking out for them this time, you can catch some of them later.

NASA’s New Tool Lets You be an Asteroid-Watcher From Home

Unfortunately, many asteroids that approach us are only visible with powerful telescopes or tools of that nature. Fortunately, NASA created a new asteroid-watching tool that lets you join in the fun from the safety and comfort of your own home.

Called Eyes on Asteroids, the new 3D real-time visualization tool works on both mobile and computers. With it, you can view objects that come close to Earth’s general vicinity and orbit. Users can also view spacecraft and missions associated with the rocks they’re viewing, all with a swipe, click, or tap. NASA states the only requirement to access the tool is an internet connection.

NASA notes we discover thousands of asteroids and dozens of comets every year. Jason Craig, the technical producer of the Visualization Applications and Development team at NASA’s JPL in Southern California, developed the tool. “We wanted Eyes on Asteroids to be as user-friendly as possible while telling the stories about humanity’s exploration of these fascinating objects.”