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A small, newly discovered asteroid passed near Earth earlier his week and a second one is expected to follow suit Friday, according to scientists with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
The asteroids were spotted Sunday by researchers at the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey near Tucson, Arizona.
The first, dubbed 2018 CC, passed within about 114,000 miles of Earth around 3:10 p.m. EST Tuesday, according to NASA. Scientists estimated the asteroid was 50-100 feet in diameter.
Two asteroids, one week. The 1st of this week’s close-approaching asteroids happened Feb. 6 at 3:10pm ET at a distance of ~114,000 miles. The 2nd asteroid will safely pass by Earth on Fri. at 2:30pm at a distance of ~39,000 miles. Get the details: https://t.co/pBqMPxgYuW pic.twitter.com/XHG9rMi9Kb— NASA (@NASA) February 7, 2018
The second asteroid, called 2018 CB, will pass near Earth around 5:30 p.m. EST Friday at distance of about 39,000 miles, less than one-fifth of the distance between Earth and the moon, according to NASA. It’s slightly larger than the first asteroid, between 50 and 130 feet in diameter.
"Although 2018 CB is quite small, it might well be larger than the asteroid that entered the atmosphere over Chelyabinsk, Russia, almost exactly five years ago, in 2013," Paul Chodas, manager of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a news release.
In February 2013, a fireball lit the skies above Chelyabinsk as a small asteroid entered Earth’s atmosphere. The asteroid was estimated to be 55-65 feet in diameter.
"Asteroids of this size do not often approach this close to our planet -- maybe only once or twice a year," Chodas said.