Astronomical Jeddah: a small asteroid passing near Earth Thursday


Engineer Majed Abu Zahra, president of the Astronomical Society in Jeddah, said that a newly discovered small asteroid called 2021 CO will cross near the globe on Thursday February 11, 2021 at a speed of 11.6 kilometers per second and will be at the closest distance of 361,898 kilometers at 06:20 pm Saudi time (03:20 pm) Greenwich Mean Time) and its apparent luminosity (18+), so it will not be seen with the naked eye and there is no risk of colliding with our planet.

Abu Zahra added that the asteroid 2021 CO is included in the list of near-Earth objects, which includes any asteroid whose orbit intersects the Earth’s orbit, and these asteroids are closely monitored, and thanks to high-precision observations and celestial mechanical calculations, their orbit is usually known with a high level of accuracy.

Based on the latest high-resolution orbital calculations, it was confirmed that the asteroid 2021 CO approached on Thursday was the closest in the next ten years.

The asteroid 2021 CO has a diameter of 32 meters and it is slightly larger than the asteroid that penetrated the skies of Russia in February 2013, which reached a diameter of 20 meters and disintegrated at a low altitude and released from it a very high energy that caused a shock wave in the sky that led to the shattering of building glass and human injuries due to flying glass and arrival Small pieces of the remains of that space rock to the surface of the Earth in the form of meteorites.

Luo explained that the asteroid 2021 CO is on a collision course with Earth; It will disintegrate at the top of the Earth’s atmosphere, will not cause a “catastrophe of extinction level”, and will not have a serious impact on the safety of the Earth’s population, however the asteroid is interesting.

It takes advantage of such opportunities to learn more about asteroids, such as the nature of their formation, as these bodies are like a time machine from the remnants of our solar system that retain many secrets of that era and can tell us more about the origin of our planet.

In addition, monitoring asteroid movement is an excellent opportunity to test international capabilities to detect and track near-Earth objects and assess our ability to respond together to any real threat to any asteroid in the future.

It is reported that small asteroids approaching the Earth are likely to be affected by the gravity of our planet, an effect called “assisting gravity” and used by space agencies to help propel spacecraft to different places in our solar system.


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