September 1st, 2017 will see the latest near miss for the Earth as an asteroid will pass by our planet just 4.4 million miles from our orbit. The asteroid, christened Florence, has been known about since 1981 and is not thought to pose a threat to Earth as its route through space has been chartered as passing by the planet with relative ease.
Scientists and astronomers will take the opportunity to examine the asteroid in great detail and chart its future path.
Florence Is The Largest Asteroid To Pass The Earth In Many Years
Astronomer Schelte “Bobby” Bus discovered Florence in 1981 while studying the stars at the Siding Springs Observatory in Australia. The asteroid is one of many reported to be passing Earth to provide a near miss situation, but at 2.7 miles in diameter, Florence is the largest space rock scheduled to pass by the planet.
The next time the orbits of Florence and Earth bring them into close proximity will be 2500, meaning this is the only time present day astronomers will have the chance to view the asteroid.
Astronomers will use radar and other technologies to build a detailed map of the surface of Florence as she passed by the planet in the hope of gaining a better understanding of the creation and makeup of the asteroid. The exact size of the asteroid will also be established before Florence once again disappears from view for the last time for more than 300 years.
Amateur astronomers will have the chance to view Florence passing through the solar system between the constellations Piscis Austrinus and Aquarius. Excitement among astronomers is growing over the appearance of Florence as this is the largest asteroid to appear in a near Earth orbit over the coming years.
Image Source: NASA