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Aircraft-sized Apollo-group asteroid set to pass Earth, says NASA; Check close encounter details

NASA says an Apollo-group asteroid has been tracked in its orbit and it is expected to pass Earth by a close margin tomorrow, February 22. Know how big is the asteroid and how close it will get.

Updated on: Feb 21 2024, 10:16 IST
Asteroid 2024 CE8 belongs to the Apollo group of Near-Earth Asteroids, according to NASA. (Pixabay)
Asteroid 2024 CE8 belongs to the Apollo group of Near-Earth Asteroids, according to NASA. (Pixabay)

After Asteroid 2024 CK5 passed Earth by a close margin a few days ago, NASA has issued yet another asteroid warning. As many as four space rocks are approaching the planet at breakneck speeds and will fly past Earth closely tomorrow, February 22. While these asteroids can sometimes come even closer to Earth than the Moon, most of them do not pose any threat and pass by relatively safely. Still, the space agencies continue to monitor their orbits for any potential collision scenarios. Know all about the close encounter with the asteroid.

Asteroid 2024 CE8: Details

The asteroid has been given the designation of Asteroid 2024 CE8 by NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS). It is travelling in its orbit at a breakneck speed of around 67732 kilometers per hour, which is even faster than space shuttles! As per the US Space Agency, this asteroid will come as close as 4.05 million kilometers to Earth tomorrow.

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It is just one of the four asteroids that will pass by Earth, alongside 2024 DX, 2024 DW, and 2024 DJ1. Asteroid 2024 CE8 is the biggest of them all, with a width of about 87 feet. That makes it almost as big as an aircraft! But, it isn’t big enough to cause panic or any potential damage. However, if it crashes on Earth, it could still cause damage to a certain degree. In 2013, a smaller 59-foot asteroid exploded over the city of Chelyabinsk in Russia, damaging 7000 buildings and injuring over 1000 people injured. This asteroid is almost triple the size of the Chelyabinsk asteroid!

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Asteroid 2024 CE8 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.

NASA has also revealed that Asteroid 2024 CE8 has not passed Earth before and this is its first-ever close approach to the planet. After today, it is not expected to come close again in the near future.

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First Published Date: 21 Feb, 10:16 IST