Fact Check

Are Three Asteroids Bigger Than Football Fields to Zoom Past Earth?

The three space objects were set to pass Earth in mid-April 2021.

Published April 18, 2021

 (NASA JPL CalTech)
Image Via NASA JPL CalTech
Three large asteroids “bigger than football fields” were set to zoom past Earth in April 2021.

Three large asteroids were set to make their closest orbital approach to Earth in mid-April 2021, according to NASA’s asteroid tracking system.

The three asteroids — 2021 GJ3, 2016 QE45, and 2021 FK3 — were reported by news publications like Newsweek, who noted that the asteroids were “bigger than football fields.” (An American football field is 160 feet wide and 360 feet long, noted the NFL.)

Asteroids are small, rocky objects that orbit the sun, and the Center for Near Earth Object Studies at NASA tracks near-Earth objects (NEO) when they are anticipated to make a close approach to Earth’s orbit.

“NEOs are comets and asteroids that have been nudged by the gravitational attraction of nearby planets into orbits that allow them to enter the Earth’s neighborhood,” noted the agency.

2021 GJ3 will pass Earth on April 21 at 2:25 a.m. UTC. At its closest, the asteroid is expected to come within 917,000 miles of Earth and measure between 154 and 350 feet in diameter.

2016 QE45 will come within 3.1 million miles of Earth on April 24 at 1:48 a.m. UTC and will measure between 393 and 885 feet in diameter.

2021 FK3 pass by Earth at more than 3.7 million miles on April 24 at 5:45 p.m., measuring between 288 and 656 feet in diameter. By comparison, the average distance between the Earth and the moon is about 239,000 miles.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory tracks asteroid approaches on its dashboard, which you can visit here.

Madison Dapcevich is a freelance contributor for Snopes.