Asteroid coming close Friday: Don’t worry, we’re safe

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Another asteroid is heading towards us, the second this week, but there is no need to worry. The newly discovered space rock will pass within 39,000 miles (64,000 kilometers) of Earth on February 9. That’s less than a fifth of the distance to the moon. Appointed 2018 CB, the asteroid has an estimated size of 50 to 130 feet (15 meters to 40 meters), possibly larger than the one that exploded over Russia five years ago this month.

The manager of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Center, Paul Chodas, said that asteroids of this size usually do not come close, just once or twice a year. While Friday’s approach is not a big problem, Chodas said in an email, “It’s a reminder that asteroids can pass very close to our planet and it’s important that we find these objects when they get close.”

It will be the second time this week that an asteroid touches us. On February 6, an asteroid passed over 114,000 miles (184,000 kilometers), a little over half the moon. This week’s asteroids were discovered on February 4 by astronomers at the Catalina Sky Survey funded by NASA in Arizona. Last year, more than 2,000 unknown near-Earth asteroids were discovered, according to Chodas.

A giant asteroid called Apophis, estimated at about 1,000 feet or more than 300 meters, will pass only a tenth of the distance between Earth and the Moon in 2029. Meanwhile, astronomers are expecting the asteroids that lurk in the cosmic shadows. . “These asteroids are simply too small to be detected until they really get close to our planet,” he wrote. That was the case in Chelyabinsk, Russia, on February 15, 2013; the incoming object, a ball of intense fire upon entering the atmosphere, caught everyone by surprise.