Within the past couple of days, some media outlets have reported that a “potentially dangerous” asteroid will come “dangerously close” to Earth on Tuesday (Aug. 28) — but unfortunately for sensationalists, this is not true.
It is true that asteroid 2016 NF23 exists. It is true that NASA considers this asteroid a near-Earth object (NEO). It is true that, because of its size and distance from the Earth, it’s been labeled a potentially hazardous asteroid. And it is also true that 2016 NF23 poses no threat to our home planet.
Again, asteroid 2016 NF23 poses absolutely no threat to us on this pass.
If there is any remaining confusion, Lindley Johnson, planetary defense officer at NASA Headquarters in Washington, had this to say to Space.com in an email: “There is absolutely nothing for concern by this pass of 2016 NF23. This object is merely designated a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA) because its orbit over time brings it within 5 million miles (8 million kilometers) of Earth’s orbit, but there is nothing hazardous to Earth or even unique about this pass of the asteroid.”
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