Illustration of an asteroid. (Image credit: Bing Image Creator).
The asteroid, designated 2024 CB1, will approach Earth on February 16, 2024 at a distance of 14,57,210 kilometers, which is less than four times the distance between Earth and the Moon. The asteroid measures between 40 and 90 meters in diameter, and will travel at 17.53 kilometers per second. 2024 CB1 is the only close encounter expected to occur on this day. Most of the asteroids in the solar system occupy the main belt between Mars and Jupiter. However, there are many populations of asteroids at different distances from the Sun. 2024 CB1 belongs to a group of asteroids known as the Apollos that orbit the Sun between Earth and Mars, frequently visiting both planets.
What do we call asteroids?
The Sun formed about 4.5 billion years ago from a very dense lump of matter inside a huge cloud of gas and dust. The leftover material from the formation of the Sun gave rise to the circumstellar disk, which became the place where all the planets in the solar system were assembled. Comets and asteroids were formed during this time, along with exotic objects that have the composition of comets but the size and shape of asteroids known as centaurs. Asteroids are rocks that orbit the Sun and are time capsules that preserve the conditions of the Solar System. That is why scientists are so interested in studying asteroids and organize expensive missions to return samples, because they can tell us a lot about our past.
Is an asteroid a meteor?
Asteroids differ from comets and centaurs in their composition. They are composed primarily of stone or metal, while comets and centaurs are composed primarily of ice. When an asteroid or comet enters the atmosphere and burns up due to extreme friction, it is known as a meteor. A meteor that breaks up on its own in the sky is known as a bolide. An asteroid is considered to have hit a planet once it has entered the atmosphere, even if no particles survive to reach the ground. Asteroids can become meteors, but not all asteroids are meteors and not all meteors are asteroids.