Meg Ryan, Tom Hanks Asteroids Both Swung Near Earth This September (VIDEO)

10/13/2011 04:29 pm ET | Updated Dec 13, 2011

Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks are out of this world.

Well, their asteroid namesakes are, anyway.

Two individual asteroids, 8353 Megryan and 12818 Tomhanks, were named and discovered seven years apart, but the pair were only several million miles apart from each other as both asteroids made their closest approach to Earth this September, according to Space.com.

The asteroids were discovered by different scientists in different hemispheres.

Whoever discovers an asteroid has the opportunity to name it, Sky and Telescope Magazine explains. Nowadays, however, discovering an asteroid is increasingly rare, given the available technology such as automated search programs.

12818 Tomhanks was discovered in Arizona in 1996, but wasn't named until its orbit was more defined, Space.com reports.

Jim Scotti, the research specialist who named the asteroid chose the name because of the actor's role in "Apollo 13." He later named another asteroid after Ron Howard, the film's director.

8353 Megryan was discovered in Chile by Eric Elst in 1989. The asteroid recently came about 191 million miles away from Earth.

1218 Tomhanks, on the other hand, was a little more courageous, venturing about 151 million miles from the Blue Planet, Space.com explains.

About 15,000 (a relatively small number) of asteroids have names, Sky and Telescope points out. After an asteroid's orbit is determined, it receives a number, and then the International Astronomical Union's Committee on Small-Body Nomenclature (CSBN) reviews all name submissions.

In February, a small asteroid named 2011 CQ1 came a mere 3,405 miles from impact with Earth. In June, asteroid 2011 MD came within 7,500 miles, closer to Earth than the moon.

For more on the Megryan/Tomhanks space date, view the video below.

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