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A 90-Foot Asteroid, Travelling At 29,961 kmph, Will Zoom Past Earth Today

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A 99-foot wide asteroid, named 2024 KA1, will fly close to Earth on Saturday. This celestial visitor is travelling at a speed of 29,961 kmph, and will make its closest approach to Earth at 16:36 IST. 

According to NASA’s Centre for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), the asteroid will come within a distance of 1.8 million km from Earth. While this distance may appear considerable, in astronomical terms, it qualifies as a close approach. 

No immediate threat

The 2024 KA1 has been categorised within the Apollo group of asteroids, and despite its seemingly huge size, experts say that it poses no direct threat to planet Earth.

The vast majority of near-Earth objects (NEOs) do not pose any immediate danger. However, there is a subset of asteroids, known as potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs), that require more scrutiny. PHAs are defined by their size, exceeding 460 feet, and their proximity to Earth’s orbit, approaching 7.5 million km. 

NASA and its global network of observatories (such as Pan-STARRS and the Catalina Sky Survey), including both professional and amateur astronomers, continuously monitor NEOs, looking for potential risks. The data collected from these observations help track the routes of asteroids like 2024 KA1. 

Radar projects like the Goldstone Solar System Radar Group at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) also contribute invaluable insights into the composition and movement of NEOs.

Upcoming asteroids

Over the next few days, Earth will witness several close encounters with asteroids. Following the 2024 KA1, asteroid 2024 LC, roughly 84 feet in size, will pass by at a distance of approximately 4,703,168 km.

Then, on June 11, 2024, two more asteroids will make their close approaches. Asteroid 2024 LD, measuring about 67 feet, will pass within approximately 4,635,552 km of Earth and asteroid 2024 CR9, with an approximate size of 1,400 feet, will come within about 7,371,520 km of our planet.

These encounters are also not expected to pose any immediate threat to Earth.
 

 A 99-foot wide asteroid, named 2024 KA1, will fly close to Earth on Saturday. This celestial visitor is travelling at a speed of 29,961 kmph, and will make its closest approach to Earth at 16:36 IST.    

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