Small asteroid to closely pass by Earth on Friday

Washington: An asteroid, estimated to be between 15 and 30 metres in size, will safely pass by Earth on Friday, NASA has said.

The celestial object, designated asteroid 2018 CB, will pass closely by Earth at around 5.30 pm EST (4 am Saturday India time), at a distance of about 64,000 kilometres, which is less than one-fifth the distance of Earth to the Moon.

“Although 2018 CB is quite small, it might well be larger than the asteroid that entered the atmosphere over Chelyabinsk, Russia, almost exactly five years ago, in 2013,” said Paul Chodas of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

“Asteroids of this size do not often approach this close to our planet — maybe only once or twice a year,” Chodas said.

What is interesting to note is that the asteroid was discovered by astronomers at the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey (CSS) in Arizona very recently — on February 4.

Another asteroid discovered by CSS on the same day passed by Earth on Tuesday.

Asteroid 2018 CC was estimated to be between 15 and 30 metres in size.

Its close approach to Earth came at 3.10 p.m. EST at a distance of about 184,000 kilometres, NASA said.