Two asteroids to pass near Earth Saturday

Two asteroids, one of them bigger in size than the celestial body that burst over Russia last month, will fly by the Earth Saturday, though not as close as to threaten collision.

The 2013 EC20 was discovered Thursday by the Catalina Sky Survey project, which estimated it size at between 3 and 12 metres.

At 5.57 am Moscow time Saturday, the asteroid will pass about 169,000 km from the Earth, according to the Massachusetts-based Minor Planet Centre.

About 9.5 hours later the same day, the 2013 ET, sized between 45 and 140 metres, will pass 972,000 km (604,000 miles) close to the planet. It will be monitored by a NASA radar in Goldstone, California.

A still bigger 2009 EM1, estimated at 49-160 metres in size, is also heading the Earth’s way, but its flyby distance at 10.04 p.m. Moscow time Friday will be 18 million km, or 48 times the lunar distance.

A meteor estimated between 17 and 20 metres in size exploded over Russia’s Chelyabinsk Region February 15.

About 1,500 people were injured, most of them by glass shattered by the shockwave from the meteor, which was the largest object to enter the planet’s atmosphere in 83 years.

–IANS/RIA Novosti


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