Thursday, March 15, 2018

Asteroid Discovered Few Days Ago to Whiz by Earth on Friday

A newly detected asteroid, designated 2018 EB4, is expected to pass by Earth on Friday, March 16 at around 5:59 UTC. The space rock will fly by our planet at a distance of about 1.5 lunar distances (LD), or 576,000 kilometers, with a relative velocity of 12.9 km/s.

2018 EB4 is an Apollo-type asteroid first spotted March 12 by the Catalina Sky Survey (CSS). CSS is a project to discover comets and asteroids, and to search for near-Earth objects (NEOs), based at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Lab in Tucson, Arizona. 

Observations revealed that 2018 EB4 is about 16-49 meters in diameter. The asteroid has an absolute magnitude of 25.4, a semimajor axis of about 2.32 AU and it takes it approximately three and a half years to fully orbit the Sun.

On Friday, the asteroid 2018 EB4 will also fly by the Moon at 13:30 UTC, at a distance of about 1.62 LD (622,000 kilometers).

On March 15, there were 1,882 Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) detected and none of them is on a collision course with our planet. PHAs are asteroids larger than 330 feet (100 meters) that can come closer to Earth than 19.5 LD. 

To date, astronomers have discovered almost 18,000 NEOs. Only this month 109 such objects were detected.