Sunday, May 28, 2017

Two Huge Asteroids to Pass by Earth in the Coming Days


Two nearly half a kilometer wide asteroids are expected to fly by our planet in the coming days. The space rocks, designated 2017 CS and 418094 will pass by Earth at a safe distance of approximately 8 lunar distances (LD), or 3 million kilometers, on May 29 and June 1 respectively.

Discovered on Feb. 2, 2017 with the first Pan-STARRS telescope (PS1), located at the summit of Haleakalā on Maui, Hawaii, asteroid 2017 CS has an estimated size of about 470 meters. Astronomers reveal that it has a rotation period of about 40.3 hours with a lightcurve amplitude of 0.18.

2017 CS will pass by Earth at 15:44 UTC on May 29 with a relative velocity of about 9.13 km/s. The absolute magnitude of this object is 19.4. It’s next close approach to our planet will occur on May 17, 2036, when it will pass at a distance of approximately 9.7 LD (3.7 million kilometers).

Three days later, asteroid 418094 will fly by Earth with a relative velocity of 23.2 km/s at 12:09 UTC. This space rock was discovered on Nov. 19, 2007 by the Steward Observatory in Arizona. The asteroid has an estimated size of about 490 meters and an absolute magnitude of 19.3.

Next close approach of 418094 is expected to take place on May 30, 2046, when it will miss the Earth at a distance of approximately 12.4 LD (4.8 million kilometers).

Currently there are 1,803 potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs) detected to date. PHAs are space rocks larger than approximately 100 meters that can come closer to Earth than 19.5 LD. However, none of the known PHAs is on a collision course with our planet.

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