The large near-Earth asteroid which is 4.4 kilometers in size will safely pass our planet on September 1
Florence is one of the largest near-Earth asteroids to come this close ever since NASA set up its detection and tracking program.
According to measurements from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and Near-Earth Object Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer, the Florence Asteroid is around 4.4 kilometers in size.
This encounter is a very good opportunity for scientists to closely study the asteroid and understand more about it. According to NASA, Florence is expected to be an excellent target for ground-based radar observations. Moreover, it would help in revealing the real size of the asteroid, while also important insights on its surface details as small as about 10 meters.
“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
Florence is not at its first trip close to Earth. It had an earlier appearance back in 1890. Moreover, according to NASA, it won’t come this close again, not before year 2500. The asteroid will be visible to small telescopes in late August and early September, just when it begins to brighten and continues to move through the constellations Piscis Austrinus, Capricornus, Aquarius, and Delphinus.
The asteroid was first discovered by Shelte Bus, in 1981 at Siding Spring Observatory located in Australia. It is named in honor of Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), founder of modern nursing.