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Car-Sized Asteroid Makes Close Flyby of Earth

Asteroid News: Its name is asteroid 2024 JN16. It measures approximately 4 meters wide, about the size of a car.

Car-Sized Asteroid Makes Close Flyby of Earth (2024 JN16)

Just two days after its discovery on May 14th, 2024, a small asteroid named 2024 JN16 made a close approach to Earth. This newfound near-Earth object (NEO) was roughly 4 meters (13 feet) in diameter, comparable to the size of a car.

Close Shave, But No Collision

While the asteroid did not collide with our planet, it skimmed by at a distance of only 18,500 kilometers (11,500 miles). This proximity classifies 2024 JN16 as a “potentially hazardous asteroid” (PHA) due to its size and trajectory.

Discovery and Origins

Amateur astronomer Gennadiy Borisov at the Margo Observatory in Crimea is credited with discovering 2024 JN16. The asteroid belongs to the Apollo group, a class of asteroids known to cross Earth’s orbital path. The most infamous member of this group is the Chelyabinsk meteor, which exploded over the Russian city in 2013.

What are Asteroids?

Asteroids, also known as minor planets, are rocky leftovers from the formation of our solar system around 4.6 billion years ago. They orbit the Sun just like planets, but primarily reside in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Their sizes vary significantly, ranging from 10 meters to 530 kilometers (330 miles) in diameter. Despite their abundance (over 1.1 million discovered so far), the total mass of all known asteroids combined is less than Earth’s Moon.

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