The imposing asteroid, dubbed by NASA Asteroid 2019 CN2, will make a so-called “Earth Close Approach” today. NASA’s astronomers have narrowed the passage down to just before 11am GMT (UTC), with an uncertainty of around four minutes. As it swings by, the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California, estimates Asteroid CN2 will near-miss the Earth from a distance similar to that between the Earth and the Moon. The incredibly close flyby comes exactly one week after the JPL first spotted the space rock on its radars.
According to the NASA research centre, Asteroid CN2 was first observed on Monday, February 4, 2019.
NASA has since calculated the space rock’s orbital trajectory to determine CN2 has been approaching Earth since at least October 1901.
This happens because the asteroid is a so-called “Near-Earth Object” – an asteroid or comet on an orbit path closely crossing that of Earth’s.
NASA explained: “Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) are comets and asteroids that have been nudged by the gravitational attraction of nearby planets into orbits that allow them to enter the Earth’s neighbourhood.
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NASA asteroid warning: A giant space rock will approach Earth nearly as close as the Moon (Image: GETTY)
“Composed mostly of water ice with embedded dust particles, comets originally formed in the cold outer planetary system while most of the rocky