FEB 07, 2018 5:09 PM PST

Earth Sees Two Close Calls With Asteroids This Week

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Asteroids from our solar system harmlessly pass the Earth all the time, but not all of them get up close and personal to our planet. That aside, NASA says we can expect a twofer this week as two recently-found small asteroids pass within just one lunar distance of our planet.

Astronomers at the Catalina Sky Survey (CSS) near Tucson, Arizona first discovered the two small asteroids on February 4th. They’ve since been named 2018 CC and 2018 CB.

Here we see the projected pass of 2018 CB in between the Moon and the Earth.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

2018 CC already passed our planet on Tuesday, February 6th at approximately 3:10 P.M. Eastern time. Citing NASA, 2018 CC measured between 50-100 feet across and flew past the Earth from only 114,000 miles away.

While that seems like a long way away for most people, it’s actually somewhat close in astronomical terms. The Moon resides nearby 238,900 miles away from Earth on average, which means that 2018 CC passed within half of one lunar distance at its closest approach.

As for 2018 CB, it hasn’t passed our planet just yet. Astronomers say 2018 CB will make its pass on Friday, February 9th and that its closest approach will be made by 5:30 P.M. Eastern time.

Related: FEMA and NASA are working together to plan for asteroid emergencies

Compared to 2018 CC, 2018 CB is more massive and should pass our planet much more closely. It measures about 50-130 feet across and should come within just 39,000 miles of our planet. Notably, it’s not very often that asteroids of this caliber fly this close to Earth.

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

"Asteroids of this size do not often approach this close to our planet -- maybe only once or twice a year."

Related: Could an asteroid knock the Moon off its orbit?

Astronomers around the globe will undoubtedly seize this opportunity to study the asteroid in detail. Using methods like telescope observations and surface-scanning radar systems, they can learn more about the asteroid’s physical features and fine-tune its projected trajectory for the future, among other things.

Source: NASA

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
MAY 29, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Climate Models Overestimate Role of Greenhouse Gases in Global Warming, Says New Study
MAY 29, 2021
Climate Models Overestimate Role of Greenhouse Gases in Global Warming, Says New Study
Researchers have that there was four times more soot in the pre-industrial Southern Hemisphere's atmosphere than pre ...
JUN 24, 2021
Space & Astronomy
European Space Agency to Launch Satellite Made from Plywood
JUN 24, 2021
European Space Agency to Launch Satellite Made from Plywood
Modern spacecraft are typically made out of carbon fiber composites. Now, however, the European Space Agency has announc ...
JUL 17, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Solar Radio Signals Improve Monitoring of Melting Ice Sheets
JUL 17, 2021
Solar Radio Signals Improve Monitoring of Melting Ice Sheets
Solar radio signals from the sun could provide a cheaper and low-power way of monitoring vast expanses of ice sheets, an ...
AUG 26, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
The Most Detailed Map of the Andromeda Galaxy taken by Radio Telescope
AUG 26, 2021
The Most Detailed Map of the Andromeda Galaxy taken by Radio Telescope
Sitting at 2.5 million light-years away, the Andromeda Galaxy is the closest galaxy to our own Milky Way. Since it&rsquo ...
SEP 01, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
New Study Suggests One-third of Binary Stars Have Engulfed Their Planets
SEP 01, 2021
New Study Suggests One-third of Binary Stars Have Engulfed Their Planets
While our solar system is relatively calm and inert, some sun-like stars out there will literally eat the planets in the ...
DEC 02, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Car Emissions Could Be a Much Larger Source of Ammonia Pollution than We Realize
DEC 02, 2021
Car Emissions Could Be a Much Larger Source of Ammonia Pollution than We Realize
COVID-19 lockdowns made stark changes to Earth’s air pollution. In the early stages of the pandemic, people starte ...
Loading Comments...