Monday, February 11, 2019

Newly Discovered House-Sized Asteroid Flies By Earth

Credit: NASA

A newly detected house-sized asteroid, designated 2019 CB2, flew by the Earth on Sunday, February 10, at around 1:20 UTC. The space rock passed by our planet at a safe distance of about 2.7 lunar distances (LD), what corresponds to 1.04 million kilometers.

2019 CB2 was discovered February 5, 2019 by the Pan-STARRS 1 (PS1) telescope at the summit of Haleakala on the Hawaiian island of Maui. The Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) is an astronomical survey consisting of astronomical cameras, telescopes and a computing facility, surveying the sky for moving objects on a continual basis.

2019 CB2 is an Apollo-type asteroid with an estimated diameter between 12 and 38 meters. The near-Earth object (NEO) has an absolute magnitude of 26.0, a semimajor axis of approximately 1.15 AU, and orbits the sun every 455 days.

Besides the close approach of 2019 CB2 to Earth on Sunday, when it missed our planet with a velocity of approximately 13 km/s, it also passed by the moon at around 5:27 UTC, at a distance of about 3.44 LD (1.32 million kilometers). Next fly-by of this asteroid to Earth will occur on September 5, 2020, when it will pass at a much larger distance of about 117 LD (45 million kilometers).

On February 11, there were nearly 2,000 potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs) detected, however none of them is on a collision course with our planet. To date, astronomers have discovered more than 19,700 NEOs. Only this year 323 such objects were identified.

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