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Apollo group asteroid to pass Earth by a close margin, reveals NASA; Know close approach details

An aircraft-sized Apollo group asteroid is expected to pass Earth today, December 7, NASA has revealed. Know details such as speed, size, distance, and more, as per NASA.

Updated on: Dec 07 2023, 10:57 IST
Asteroid 2023 XY belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids, NASA says. (Pixabay)
Asteroid 2023 XY belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids, NASA says. (Pixabay)

As per the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), an asteroid, given the designation of Asteroid 2023 XY, is expected to pass Earth by a close margin today, December 7. 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. Using this method, know details about Asteroid 2023 XY such as its speed, size, and distance of approach.

Asteroid 2023 XY: Details

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This near-Earth space rock is expected to pass Earth at a distance of just 5.5 million kilometers and at a speed of 29840 kilometers per hour which is much faster than Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs)! It is important to note that while it has been termed as a Near-Earth Asteroid due to its close distance of passing, it is not expected to actually impact the planet.

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It belongs to the Apollo group of Near-Earth Asteroids, which are Earth-crossing space rocks with semi-major axes larger than Earth's, reveals NASA. These asteroids are named after the humongous 1862 Apollo asteroid, discovered by German astronomer Karl Reinmuth in the 1930s.

How big is the asteroid?

NASA has not designated Asteroid 2023 XY as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid. Only celestial objects larger than 492 feet that pass Earth at a distance closer than 7.5 million kilometers are designated so, and Asteroid 2023 XY does not fulfill one of these requirements. In terms of size, Asteroid 2023 XY is almost 65 feet wide, making it almost as big as an aircraft.

According to NASA, Asteroid 2023 XY has not passed Earth before and this will be its first-ever close approach. After today, this Apollo group asteroid is not expected to pass by the planet anytime in the near future.

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First Published Date: 07 Dec, 10:57 IST