A bus-sized asteroid will fly near Earth on February 22

Astronomers have reported the discovery of a previously unknown near-Earth asteroid. It will fly near our planet on February 22.

A near-Earth asteroid in the artist’s image. Source: ESA / P.Carril

The small body was discovered on February 19, 2024, and entered into the database of small bodies of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It received the designation 2024 DW. According to astronomers, the asteroid’s diameter ranges from 10 to 23 meters. Thus, it is comparable in size to a passenger bus.

Already on February 22, 2024, DW will fly near the Earth. This visit does not pose a threat to our planet. The minimum approach distance will be 225 thousand km. This is 4.5 times further than the orbits of geostationary satellites.

It is worth noting that 2024 DW belongs to the Apollo family. This is the name of a group of asteroids which orbits intersect the Earth’s orbit from the outside. This is the largest family of near-Earth asteroids known to astronomers, and to date they have discovered about 20 thousand similar objects. About 10% of them are considered potentially dangerous. It is believed that the asteroid that fell in 2013 in the Chelyabinsk region also belonged to the Apollo family.

Earlier, we talked about how an asteroid collision could turn the Earth into a snowball planet.

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