When NASA’s telescopes track a new Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA), astronomers measure the asteroid’s observed positions in the sky and report them to the Minor Planet Center. The Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) then uses that data to determine the asteroid’s most likely orbit around the Sun, according to NASA. 2024 has begun multiple asteroid approaches in the first two days, and the trend is set to continue today. Not one, but two asteroids are expected to fly past Earth at close quarters today, January 9. Check details.
Asteroid 2024 AS1: Details
The first asteroid to pass Earth today has been designated Asteroid 2024 AS1 by NASA CNEOS. It is expected to pass Earth at a distance of just 580,000 kilometers. As per NASA, it is travelling in its orbit at a speed of 60425 kilometers per hour which is much faster than Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs)!
In terms of size, is it just 39 feet wide, making it almost as big as a bus. It belongs to the Apollo group of Near-Earth Asteroids, which are Earth-crossing space rocks with semi-major axes larger than Earth’s. These asteroids are named after the humongous 1862 Apollo asteroid, discovered by German astronomer Karl Reinmuth in the 1930s.
Asteroid 2023 XN13: Details
The second asteroid, given the designation of Asteroid 2023 XN13, will pass Earth at a slower speed of 5177 kilometers per hour. NASA expects this space rock to fly past Earth at a close margin of approximately 6 million kilometers today, January 5.
In terms of size, Asteroid 2023 XN13 is even smaller, with a width of just 26 feet. It also belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids.
It is important to note that while both asteroids have been termed as Near-Earth Asteroids due to their close distance of passing, they are not expected to actually impact the planet.
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