Newly Discovered Asteroid to Fly Close to Earth and the Moon Today!

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By Lydia Amazouz Published on June 29, 2024 07:30
Newly Discovered Asteroid To Fly Close To Earth And The Moon Today!

A newly discovered asteroid, named 2024 MK, is scheduled to pass between Earth and the moon on Saturday, June 29. The asteroid, measuring approximately 480 feet (146 meters) across, is larger than the Great Pyramid of Giza.

At its closest approach, the asteroid will be within roughly 184,000 miles (295,000 kilometers) of our planet, a distance that is about three-quarters of the average distance between Earth and the moon.

This close flyby offers a unique opportunity for astronomers to observe a near-Earth object of significant size as it travels through space.

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Discovery and Characteristics of Asteroid 2024 MK

The asteroid 2024 MK was discovered by astronomers in South Africa on June 16. The detection of such a sizeable asteroid so close to its flyby date underscores the importance of vigilant sky monitoring programs. Classified by NASA as a potentially hazardous asteroid due to its large size and orbital path, 2024 MK follows a trajectory that occasionally brings it into the vicinity of Earth's orbit.

The asteroid's dimensions and speed are remarkable; at its closest approach, it will travel at an astonishing speed of approximately 21,000 mph (34,000 km/h). This speed, combined with its substantial size, makes it an object of considerable interest to the scientific community.

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Ensuring Safety: No Threat to Earth

Despite the proximity of 2024 MK during its flyby, there is no danger posed to Earth. NASA's rigorous monitoring and tracking systems have ensured that the asteroid's trajectory will keep it at a safe distance from our planet. After its close approach, 2024 MK will continue its journey towards the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

Two Large Asteroids Sa

According to NASA's predictions, the asteroid will not return to the vicinity of Earth until 2037, and even then, it is not expected to pose any threat. This reassurance comes from detailed observations and calculations made by astronomers who track the movements of such objects with high precision.

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Recent Asteroid Flybys and Context

The approach of 2024 MK follows another significant asteroid event. On June 27, the much larger asteroid 2011 UL21 passed by Earth. This asteroid, measuring between 1.1 and 2.4 miles (1.7 to 3.9 kilometers) in width, flew by at a distance of about 4.1 million miles (6.6 million kilometers) from Earth.

Although this distance is substantial, 2011 UL21 was the largest asteroid to come that close to our planet in 110 years. The Virtual Telescope Project, which livestreamed the encounter, provided an unprecedented view of this massive space rock. Such events highlight the dynamic and ever-changing nature of our solar system, as well as the ongoing efforts to monitor objects that come close to Earth.

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Monitoring and Studying Near-earth Objects

NASA keeps a vigilant watch over more than 35,000 near-Earth objects (NEOs), which are space rocks that come within 120 million miles (195 million kilometers) of the sun. These objects often cross Earth's orbit during their travels, necessitating continuous monitoring to assess any potential threats.

Currently, there are no known asteroids that pose a significant risk to Earth for at least the next 100 years. This extensive monitoring network allows scientists to identify and track NEOs, ensuring that any potential hazards are detected well in advance. Understanding the behavior and characteristics of these objects is crucial for developing strategies to mitigate any future threats they may pose.

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The close approaches of 2024 MK and 2011 UL21 serve as important reminders of the ongoing need to study and understand asteroids, particularly those classified as potentially hazardous. These events provide valuable opportunities for scientists to gather data and refine their predictive models. As we continue to explore and learn about our solar system, the information gathered from such close encounters will be instrumental in protecting our planet from potential future impacts.

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An editor specializing in astronomy and space industry, passionate about uncovering the mysteries of the universe and the technological advances that propel space exploration.

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