Potentially Hazardous asteroid heading towards Earth, to make a close pass in March 

NASA has defined the asteroid called 138971 (2001 CB21) as potentially hazardous, as it will come as close as 4.5 million km.

Potentially Hazardous asteroid heading towards Earth
Potentially Hazardous asteroid heading towards Earth

Potentially Hazardous asteroid 2001 CB21: A giant asteroid, estimated to be four times bigger than the Eiffel Tower, is heading towards the Earth and is likely to make a close pass in March. 

NASA has defined the asteroid called 138971 (2001 CB21) as potentially hazardous, as it will come as close as 4.5 million km.

As per scientists, there is no need to worry as the distance is almost 13 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon. The asteroid, however, will be traveling at a lightning speed of over 26,800 miles per hour. 

When will the potentially hazardous asteroid come close to the Earth?

The potentially hazardous asteroid is expected to make a close pass by the Earth at around 3 am on March 4th. 

Asteroid 2001 CB21

The potentially hazardous asteroid is up to 1.3 kilometers or 4,265 feet in diameter. 

The asteroid was classified as "potentially hazardous" by NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS). It is also classified as a near-Earth asteroid (NEA), based on its relative closest distance of 4,911,102 million km when passing by Earth.

The 2001 CB21 asteroid makes an orbit around the sun once every 384 days, similar to Earth's orbital period. It is bigger than around 97 percent of the known asteroids.

Will the asteroid hit the Earth?

As per scientists, the asteroid does not pose any danger of hitting the Earth in the near future unless something drastic forces it to change its course.

How was Asteroid 2001 CB21 discovered?

The asteroid 2001 CB21 was detected by the virtual telescope project of astronomer Gianluca Masi of Italy on January 30, 2022 when it was more than 21.5 million miles away from Earth.

What are potentially hazardous asteroids?

The asteroids are classified as "potentially hazardous" based on their "threatening close approaches" to the Earth. Usually, an asteroid smaller than about 500 feet in diameter cannot get closer to the Earth than around 4.6 million miles and hence, they are not classified as potentially hazardous asteroid (PHA) category

Background

A potentially hazardous asteroid named 1994 PC1 had flown past the Earth on January 18th at a distance of around 1.2 million miles. The asteroid was estimated to be 1 kilometer in size, more than twice the height of the Empire State Building.

Another asteroid named 99942 Apophis, which is 1,120 feet in size, is expected to make a close encounter with Earth on April 13, 2029. The asteroid, considered to be one of the most dangerous asteroids, will pass the Earth just 31,000 kilometers away. 

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