A newly discovered asteroid, the size of half a football field, is approaching Earth without the risk of collision, with a closer approach expected on February 4.
The asteroid was first seen on January 1 by the Purple Mountain Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The International Astronomical Union’s Center for Minor Planets confirmed the discovery of the asteroid and assigned it 2022 AA, which means it is the first near-Earth asteroid to be discovered this year. Since then, it has been closely followed by monitoring stations in the United States and Chile.
With an estimated width of 43 meters, the newly discovered object belongs to the Apollo asteroid group. These asteroids have orbits larger than the Earth’s orbit around the Sun and their paths intersect with the Earth’s orbit.
The asteroid is heading toward Earth and is expected to reach a distance of 2.55 million kilometers from the Earth’s surface, said Zhao Haibin, chief scientist with the observatory’s Near-Earth Object Telescope Program. “Given the distance, it will not pose a danger to the ground,” Zhao was quoted by Xinhua as saying.
“Proud web fanatic. Subtly charming twitter geek. Reader. Internet trailblazer. Music buff.”