Two tiny asteroids to visit Earth on Valentine’s Day, 2024

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There are three asteroids making a close approach to the Earth on 14 February, 2023. One is a pretty large asteroid with the designation of 2024 BR4. This asteroid measures between 130 and 300 metres across. Initially, this was the only asteroid that was scheduled for a close approach. However, scientists have recently discovered two additional asteroids that will make a close approach to the Earth on the same date. These asteroids bear the designations of 2024 CL1 and 2024 CU1.

2024 CL1 measures between 18 and 41 metres across, and will approach within 12,85,456 kilometres of the Earth, or less than 3.5 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon. The asteroid will be travelling at a speed of 14.23 kilometres per second. It belongs to the Atens group of asteroids, that make close approaches to both Earth and Venus, with an orbit around the Sun that is smaller than the Earth’s, but one that intersects with the Earth.

2024 CU1 measures between 13 and 30 metres across, and will approach within 5,83,453 kilometres of the Earth, which is less than 1.5 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon. The asteroid will be travelling at a velocity of 10.75 kilometres per second. 2024 CU1 belongs to a population of asteroids known as Apollos that have orbits larger than that of the Earth. These asteroids frequently make close approaches to both the Earth and Mars.

All the three asteroids will zip past the planet safely on 14 February 2024. There is no threat to any humans on the planet. NASA and other space agencies around the world track near Earth objects and potentially hazardous asteroids to be able to predict any potential impact long before it takes place. It is challenging to predict the precise trajectories of asteroids far into the future. However, there no major asteroid is expected to impact the Earth over the next few centuries.

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