Asteroid coming close Friday: Don't worry, we're safe

Two small asteroids safely pass Earth this week
Asteroid 2018 CB will pass closely by Earth on Friday, Feb. 9, at a distance of about 39,000 miles. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Another asteroid is headed our way—the second this week—but there's no need to worry.

The newly discovered space rock will pass within 39,000 miles (64,000 kilometers) of Earth on Friday afternoon. That's less than one-fifth the distance to the moon.

Designated 2018 CB, the asteroid is an estimated 50 feet to 130 feet (15 meters to 40 meters) in size, possibly bigger than the one that exploded over Russia five years ago this month.

The manager of NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies , Paul Chodas, said asteroids this size usually don't come this close—just once or twice a year.

While Friday's close approach isn't a huge deal, Chodas said in an email, "it is a reminder that asteroids can pass very close to our planet and it's important that we find these objects when they do get close."

It will be the second time this week an asteroid buzzes us. On Tuesday, an asteroid passed within 114,000 miles (184,000 kilometers), slightly more than halfway to the moon.

Both of this week's asteroids were discovered Feb. 4 by astronomers at the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona. Last year, more than 2,000 previously unknown near-Earth asteroids were discovered, according to Chodas.

A whopper asteroid named Apophis—estimated at approximately 1,000 feet or more than 300 meters—will pass at just one-tenth the distance between Earth and the moon in 2029. In the meantime, astronomers are on the lookout for asteroids lurking in the cosmic shadows.

"These asteroids are simply too small to be detected until they get really close to our planet," he wrote.

That was the case at Chelyabinsk, Russia on Feb. 15, 2013; the incoming object—an intense fireball as it entered the atmosphere—caught everyone by surprise.

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Two small asteroids safely pass Earth this week

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Feb 08, 2018
You know, I waiting for the day when the headline says 'Time to don protective suits as incoming asteroid will be be dangerously close if not closer.' Panic, panic everywhere...only joking of course but are these 'fly by's' really of any interest other to those who are looking for a nasty one?

Feb 08, 2018
I guess I wouldn't have known not to worry if they hadn't told me not to worry?

Please you guys, I want to know only one thing........what is the date the world comes to an end & we become like the dinosaurs?

We just learned the Sun's radiation output is waning until beyond the year 2050 & could last for 200 years beyond that, therefore we can dispense with CO2 capture methods because we're gonna need all the CO2 we can get to keep the planet warm enough to grow food for 10 billion people as it gets colder.

I have recently discovered why I laugh so much when I read all the stuff we're supposed to cower in fear over, too much nitrous oxide in the atmosphere.

We need laughing gas (nitrous oxide) reduction in the atmosphere, or we will all just end up laughing ourselves to death over all the things that are never gonna happen that the EXPERTS have been warning us about & been wrong.

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