NASA tracking Christmas Day asteroid hurtling towards Earth’s orbit at 22,000mph

An enormous asteroid being tracked by NASA is set to zip past Earth on Christmas Day.

The space agency estimates the rock to be between 92m and 210m – or 659ft at its upper limit.

In other words, it will be the size of the Space Needle tower in Seattle, Washington, or bigger than two full size football pitches.

Astrologists at NASA’s centre for Near Earth Object Studies have named it Asteroid 501647 (2014 SD224).

It has been classed as a member of the Aten asteroid family.

Aten asteroids are known to behave oddly. Of all the asteroids, they are the type most likely to hit Earth because their orbit brings them into close proximity with our planet.

  • Asteroid 'bigger than Big Ben' hurtling towards Earth's orbit at 33,000mph

In spite of that, Asteroid 501647 is predicted to pass our planet safely.

The space rock will pass on Christmas Day, December 25, as families around the world sit down to enjoy a festive meal.

It is expected to pass Earth at around 8.20pm Eastern Standard Time, which is 1.20am Greenwich Mean Time.

Sadly for stargazers, the asteroid will not be visible from Earth when it hurtles by at a speed in excess of 22,000 miles per hour.

Earth will be passed by a second asteroid within a 24 hour period over the Christmas break, NASA claims.

  • Asteroid the size of Space Needle tower heading towards Earth on Christmas Day

Asteroid 2012 XE133 will grace the skies on Boxing Day ,at 21.58pm Eastern Standard Time.

It is estimated to be smaller than the Christmas Day asteroid, however, and is understood to be between 56m and 120m.

To give perspective, this asteroid is about the size of a football pitch, which are typically between 90m and 120m in length.

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