Last Friday, September 1, a gigantic asteroid dubbed ‘Florence’ flew past Earth some 7 million kilometers away, becoming the largest celestial object to pass so close to our planet, ever since NASA started tracking space rocks. To the surprise of observers from Earth, two strange objects between 100 and 300 meters in diameter were spotted orbiting it.
In addition to being considered a unique event, the flyby of Florence allowed scientists to discover that Florence is apparently orbited by a couple strange objects.
According to the NASA Reaction Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the images obtained by the agency’s Goldstone Space Communications Complex confirmed that the asteroid is 4.4 kilometers in diameter.
The two mystery objects—considered by many in the UFO community as Alien Spacecraft hiding on Florence—are between 100 and 300 meters in diameter.
According to the latest footage of the asteroid captured by NASA, radar photographs provided details of its surface: it has a ridge along its equator, at least one large crater, and two large flat regions, among many other features.
The analysis of the data obtained also revealed that Florence rotates once every 2.4 hours.
The two mystery objects circling the asteroid—according to NASA two relatively small moons—are shrouded in mystery as experts have not been able to find out much about them.
Additional observations will be made next week at the Goldstone Center – located in the Mojave Desert (California, USA) – and at the Arecibo Observatory, on the north coast of Puerto Rico. These studies are expected to provide more details on the surface of the asteroid, accurate estimates of the orbital periods of its moons, and to help estimate the overall mass and density of Florence.
Florence is a unique asteroid for a number of reasons.
“Nothing this big has passed this close to Earth since we’ve been tracking,” Paul Chodas, manager of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, told Space.com. “This is a once-in-40-year-event kind of thing.”
Contrary to many beliefs, there was never a chance that the space rock impacted Earth this time, and astronomers have studied Florence’s orbit well enough to know that it poses no threat to Earth for at least the next few centuries, he said.
If something as big as Florence had hit our planet, scientists say it would end our civilization and most likely life on Earth.
Florence was discovered by astronomer Schelte “Bobby” Bus in 1981 at the Siding Spring Observatory in Australia.The curious Space rock revolves around the sun every 2.35 years in an elliptical orbit, coming as close to our star as one astronomical unit (AU) – the distance from Earth to the Sun – and as far as 2.5 AU.