KEY POINTS

  • A total of 3 asteroids will zip by Earth this weekend
  • 2020RZ3 has a diameter of 203 feet, taller than the Leaning Tower of Pisa
  • None of the 3 NEAs have been included in the European Space Agency’s Risk List

A total of three Near-Earth Asteroids will be zipping past Earth this weekend, with one reaching 203 feet in diameter.

According to the Close Approach Data Table from NASA’s  Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), asteroids 2020RZ3, 2020SY3, and 2010UC are expected to pass by Earth, with 2010UC possibly even getting as close as 4 million kilometers (approximately 2.48 million miles) from the planet’s surface.

The largest of the three, 2020RZ3, is taller than the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy, with a diameter of 203 feet. If you’re living in California, this NEA is about four times as tall as the Hollywood sign on Santa Monica Mountains. 2020RZ3 is expected to pass by on Friday at 4.33 a.m. EDT at a safe distance of almost 6 million kilometers from the Earth.

Hours later, asteroid 2020SY3 will pass by at 10.22 p.m. EDT, and is significantly smaller in size compared to 2020RZ3. But with a diameter reaching 131 feet, this asteroid is far taller than the Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil, which stands at just 92 feet. At a distance of around 6 million kilometers from Earth, 2020SY3 will zip by at 7.80 kilometers per second.

Both asteroids to fly by on Friday are considered Apollo asteroids due to their semi-major axes which are larger than Earth’s.

The last and the smallest of the three NEAs to zip past Earth this weekend is 2010UC. First observed 10 years ago on Oct. 17, 2010, it is now expected to fly by early this Sunday at 4.22 a.m. EDT. Though considered the smallest among the three, it will have the closest distance from the planet’s surface when it passes by, at just 4,655,108.22 kilometers. Its size is still for the most part quite large when measured here on Earth. At 65 feet, 2010UC is almost as big as an adult blue whale.

With a semi-major axis smaller than that of Earth, 2010UC differs from the other two NEAs and belongs to the Aten category of asteroids, according to CNEOS.

Luckily, none of the three asteroids to pass by have been included in the European Space Agency’s Risk List.

Two Very Different Asteroids Image of two different asteroids captured by NASA. Photo: NASA/JPL/JHUAPL

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