Over 17,000 near-Earth asteroids
© NASA
Over 17,000 near-Earth asteroids remain undetected in our solar neighborhood. Pictured; an artistic illustration of an asteroid flying by Earth.
NASA's asteroid tracking agency is currently monitoring two space rocks that are currently headed for Earth. According to the agency's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), the two asteroids belong to a family of cosmic rocks that are known to intersect Earth's orbit.

The first asteroid that will approach Earth tomorrow has been identified by CNEOS as 2020 BN3. According to CNEOS, this asteroid is currently traveling towards Earth at an impressive speed of almost 65,000 miles per hour. The agency estimated that the asteroid is about 167 feet wide.

Trailing behind 2020 BN3 is an asteroid known as 2020 BY4. As indicated in CNEOS' database, this asteroid has an estimated diameter of about 115 feet.
The agency noted that the asteroid is traveling across space with an average velocity of 115 feet.

According to CNEOS, both 2020 BN3 and 2020 BY4 are both classified as Apollo asteroids. This means that these two asteroids follow wide orbits around a couple of planets in the Solar System. From time to time, these asteroids cross the Earth's path as it goes around the Sun.

Due to their Earth-crossing natural orbits, these two asteroids could hit Earth if their trajectory slightly changes. Normally, asteroids that are as big as 2020 BN3 and 2020 BY4 burn up in the atmosphere and explode in the sky when they collide with Earth.

However, in the case of these two asteroids, they could end up causing impact events on Earth if they hit the planet. This is primarily due to their current speeds. Since they are traveling at high velocities, these asteroids could penetrate Earth's atmosphere to hit the ground.

Fortunately, CNEOS noted that these approaching asteroids are not in danger of colliding with Earth during their upcoming visit. According to the agency, 2020 BN3 is expected to approach the planet on Jan. 27 at 12:52 am EST. During its approach, the asteroid will be about 0.01755 astronomical units or roughly 1.6 million miles away from the Earth's center.

2020 NY4, on the other hand, will fly past Earth on Jan. 27 at 5:08 pm EST from a distance of 0.01770 astronomical units or around 1.6 million miles away.