Science

Asteroid to pass close to Earth

Asteroid to pass close to Earth”

A newly discovered asteroid that is set to buzz past Earth today could be as large as the asteroid that exploded over Russian Federation five years ago.

'Although 2018 CB is quite small, it might well be larger than the asteroid that entered the atmosphere over Chelyabinsk, Russia, nearly exactly five years ago, in 2013, ' said Paul Chodas, manager of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Designated 2018 CB, the asteroid is an estimated 50 feet to 130 feet in size, possibly bigger than the one that exploded over Russian Federation five years ago this month.

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The asteroid, which is the size of an apartment block, will whizz past the our planet 39,000 miles away - less than one fifth the distance to the Moon.

The space agency's Asteroid Watch Twitter account said: "The best pass of Super Bowl Sunday is at 4.31pm ET when asteroid 2002 AJ129 harmlessly passes Earth by over 2.6 million miles (4.2 million km), or over 10 lunar distances". NASA has termed this asteroid "potentially hazardous" because an asteroid is classified as "potentially hazardous" if it comes within the 4,600,000 miles distance from our Earth.

It is the second asteroid to pass by the planet this week. Small asteroids pass between the planet and the moon several times a month.

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Both of this week's asteroids were discovered February 4 by astronomers at the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona.

This GIF from Nasa shows how close the rock's trajectory will get to the earth, relative to the moon's orbit. In the meantime, astronomers are on the lookout for asteroids lurking in the cosmic shadows.

On Feb. 15, 2013, an asteroid roughly 17 metres in size lit up the sky over Chelyabinsk breaking up, with a large piece landing in a lake.

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