Two Potentially Dangerous Asteroids to Get Close to Earth in February: Is there any threat?

5th Feb 2024
Two Potentially Dangerous Asteroids to Get Close to Earth in February: Is there any threat?

February is proving to be a busy month for asteroids, with two near misses on the 2nd and 4th that we’ve successfully avoided collisions with. Nevertheless, there are still two more potentially hazardous asteroids to approach Earth this month: 2023 SP1 and 2020 BH12. The question arises: will these upcoming encounters pose any significant danger to us?

7th February 2023: Asteroid 2023 SP1

On Wednesday, the 7th February, Asteroid 2023 SP1 will come close to Earth. NASA reports that the length of this celestial body measures 244 meters. The distance between the asteroid and Earth will be approximately 5.48 million kilometers, with the asteroid travelling at a speed of 42,480 km/h.

NASA designates an asteroid as a “potentially dangerous object” if it comes within a distance of less than 7.4 million km and has a size exceeding 150 meters.

Notably, asteroid 2023 SP1 meets both criteria simultaneously. Let’s keep a watchful eye and see what unfolds between this cosmic visitor and our planet.

17th February: Asteroid 2020 BX12

2020 BX12 is also identified as a potentially hazardous binary asteroid. The asteroid follows a highly elongated orbit that intersects with Earth’s orbit. Its next approach to the Earth will occur in February 2024, tentatively on the 17th, but with no danger for us. The closest the asteroid comes to Earth is approximately 0.002 astronomical units (0.30 million km), a proximity that qualifies it as potentially dangerous.

However, such close approaches are not expected for at least the next 200 years. The Turin scale assigns a danger index of 0 to the asteroid, indicating that it is currently not a direct threat.

What is an asteroid?

An asteroid is a small, rocky object that orbits the Sun. Most asteroids are found in the asteroid belt, a region between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. They vary in size from small boulders to hundreds of kilometers in diameter. Asteroids are remnants from the early formation of the solar system and can provide valuable insights into its history.

Asteroids are composed mainly of minerals, metals, and other elements, and they lack atmospheres. They can have irregular shapes and surfaces, and their orbits can vary widely. Some asteroids are classified as near-Earth objects (NEOs) if their orbits bring them into close proximity to Earth. While the majority of asteroids pose no threat to our planet, scientists closely monitor larger ones that could potentially impact Earth in the future.

In present days, scientists are closely monitoring the trajectory of sizable asteroids that pose a potential threat to Earth.

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