On September 1, an asteroid almost three miles wide will safely fly by Earth. The asteroid is one of the biggest near-Earth objects (NEOs) currently being tracked by NASA, and will be the largest to pass us at a relatively close distance since the space agency began monitoring them 20 years ago.
The asteroid, named Florence (after Florence Nightingale), is 2.7 miles wide and will fly by our planet at a distance of 4.4 million miles. The last time it came closer to Earth was 1890, and the next time it will come anywhere near us will be 2500.
“While many known asteroids have passed by closer to Earth than Florence will … all of those were estimated to be smaller,” Paul Chodas, manager of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, said in a statement. “Florence is the largest asteroid to pass by our planet this close since the NASA program to detect and track near-Earth asteroids began.”