Newly discovered house-sized asteroid 2018 CB to zip close by Earth
A newly detected house-sized asteroid, designated 2018 CB, is slated to fly by Earth on Friday, February 9, at around 22:30 UTC, with a velocity estimated at being some 26,000 mph (58,000 km/h). The space rock should zip by our planet at a relatively close distance of approximately 0.19 lunar distances (LD). This corresponds to a “mere” 39,000 miles (64,000 kilometers).
2018 CB is an Apollo-type near-Earth object (NEO). It was discovered on Feb. 4 by the Catalina Sky Survey (CSS). CSS is a project that is tasked with discovering comets and asteroids, and to search for NEOs, and s based at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Lab located in Tucson, Arizona.
According to astronomers, 2018 CB has an absolute magnitude of 25.9, and an estimated diameter between 50 and 130 feet (15 and 40 meters). It orbits the Sun every 610 days at a distance of approximately 1.41 AU (one AU is 93 million miles, or the distance between the Earth and the Sun).
“Although 2018 CB is quite small, it might well be larger than the asteroid that entered the atmosphere over Chelyabinsk, Russia, almost five years ago, in 2013,” said Paul Chodas, manager of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena (JPL), California. “Asteroids of this size do not often approach this close to our planet – maybe only once or twice a year.”
While 2018 CB will fly by Earth at a relatively close distance, NASA confirmed that the object’s pass poses no danger to us. Skyandtelescope.com also has stated that 2018 CB is not on a collision course with our planet.
“2018 CB will be traveling at around 26,000 mph (58,000 km/h). With that much speed and momentum, it can’t be pulled in by Earth’s gravity, so there’s no cause for alarm,” Bob King of Skyandtelescope.com wrote.
Besides its close approach to Earth on Friday, 2018 CB will also fly past the Moon one day later at around 12:56 UTC at a distance of 0.79 LD, or 188,000 miles (303,000 kilometers). The next fly-by of this asteroid to Earth is expected to take place on March 8, 2023, when it should pass at a much larger distance of approximately 23.3 LD (5.5 million miles, or 8.9 million kilometers).
As of February 8, there were 1,882 Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) detected and none of them is known to be on a collision course with our world. PHAs are asteroids larger than 330 feet (100 meters) that can come closer to Earth than 19.5 LD.
To date, astronomers have discovered more than 17,700 NEOs.
Tomasz Nowakowski is the owner of Astro Watch, one of the premier astronomy and science-related blogs on the internet. Nowakowski reached out to SpaceFlight Insider in an effort to have the two space-related websites collaborate. Nowakowski's generous offer was gratefully received with the two organizations now working to better relay important developments as they pertain to space exploration.