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Thursday, February 29, 2024
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Nasa: Stadium-sized asteroid to pass within 1.7m miles of Earth today – Times of India

A colossal asteroid, comparable in size to a skyscraper or to a football field, is set to make a close approach to Earth, coming within 1.7 million miles (2.7 million kilometers) on Friday.
While this distance might appear considerable, it’s close enough in terms of space measurements for NASA to monitor it on its “asteroid watch,” and specialists are closely observing its trajectory.
There’s no cause for alarm as the asteroid will safely bypass our planet, maintaining a distance sevenfold that of the Earth to the moon.
According to Nasa’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies, the dimensions of this celestial body range between 690 and 1,575 feet (210 and 480 meters), placing it on par with iconic structures like the Empire State Building in New York City or the Willis Tower in Chicago.
Identified in 2008 and known as 2008 OS7, this asteroid’s trajectory won’t bring it near Earth again until 2032, and even then, it will remain a distant 45 million miles away.
In our solar system, there are millions of asteroids, with approximately 2,350 of them categorized as potentially hazardous.
This week marks a period of heightened asteroid activity, with this sizeable asteroid being one among several making their benign passage near Earth. Friday alone will witness three smaller asteroids, each no larger than a few yards, harmlessly cruising by, followed by another two on Saturday. Sunday will see an asteroid about half the size of 2008 OS7 making its approach, staying a safe 4.5 million miles distant.
In total, five celestial objects will pass near Earth between now and Friday, with the other four ranging between 63ft and 120ft in diameter. The closest approach will be by asteroid 2024BJ3, roughly the size of an airplane, which will come within 533,000 miles on Friday. All of these objects are too faint to be visible to the naked eye.
The next notable encounter with a potentially hazardous asteroid will be with 99942 Apophis on April 14, 2029. Nasa’s Osiris-Apex spacecraft is en route to this asteroid to study the physical alterations resulting from its close encounter with Earth. Although Apophis was initially thought to pose a threat in 2068, revised calculations have since dismissed this concern.
(With inputs from agencies)



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