58-foot asteroid, as big as Chelyabinsk space rock, hurtling towards Earth for close approach

An asteroid with a size similar to the Chelyabinsk space rock could make a very close approach to Earth in the coming days. NASA has revealed crucial information about its approach such as speed, size, and distance.

| Updated on: Aug 09 2023, 10:36 IST
NASA tracks Asteroid 2023 PC as it gets closer to Earth; check speed, size and more
Asteroid 2023 OE5
1/5 As per NASA, a massive space rock called asteroid 2023 PC is rushing towards Earth at a rapid speed. The data suggests that it is going to make a very close approach.  (Pixabay)
Asteroid 2023 OE5
2/5 According to the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), asteroid 2023 PC is coming towards the Earth at a rapid speed of 18944 kilometres per hour and is scheduled to make its nearest approach to the planet on August 14, 2023. (Pixabay)
Asteroid 2023 OE5
3/5 According to NASA's asteroid data tracker, Asteroid 2023 PC is expected to come as close as 5,100,000 KM to the Earth. (NASA)
Asteroid 2023 OE5
4/5 The asteroid has a size of  130 feet - as large as an aeroplane. The asteroid belongs to the Aten group of Near-Earth objects. (Pixabay)
Asteroid 2023 OE5
5/5 According to NASA, there is no danger to Earth from this asteroid. However, NASA is still monitoring the asteroid's progress as the gravitational force of the Earth can occasionally cause deviation, which may be dangerous.  (Pixabay)
Asteroid 2023 OE5
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Asteroid 2023 OE5 belongs to the Apollo group of Near-Earth Asteroids. (NASA JPL)

Asteroids fly by Earth at close distances at regular intervals, but not all of them impact the surface. However, there is no guarantee that none of them ever will. In 2013, an asteroid, the size of a house, exploded over the city of Chelyabinsk in Russia and damaged over 8000 buildings, leaving nearly 1000 people injured. More recently, another small space rock landed on a woman's roof in France and hit her in the chest! These close calls with asteroids highlight the importance of observing and tracking them for any potential close approaches to the planet.

NASA, with the help of its advanced ground and space-based telescopes such as Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS), Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), and Pans-STARRS1, has discovered an asteroid that will buzz Earth in the coming days.

Asteroid 2023 OE5 details

According to details revealed by NASA, an asteroid, identified as Asteroid 2023 OE5, is close to Earth, travelling at 13930 kilometers per hour. It will make its closest approach to the Earth on August 14. On that day, it will come as close as 1.5 million kilometers to the planet.

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

Asteroid threat - Is it any dangerous?

In terms of size, NASA estimates it to be around 58 feet wide, making it almost as big as a house. Therefore, by no means is Asteroid 2023 OE5 a planet killer. However, it still could cause damage if it impacts the surface, as it is nearly the same size as the Chelyabinsk asteroid.

Although NASA scientists estimate that an asteroid would have to be about 96 km wide to completely and utterly wipe out life on Earth, smaller asteroids such as Asteroid 2023 OE5 also have the potential to cause damage up to some extent. These close approaches have served as a reminder of the threat posed by these space rocks and highlighted the importance of tracking and studying them.

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First Published Date: 09 Aug, 10:20 IST