Science

Narrow escape for Earth as closest large asteroid ever recorded whizzes past

Narrow escape for Earth as closest large asteroid ever recorded whizzes past”

An asteroid estimated to be at least 150 feet in diameter made an alarmingly close pass to Earth on Sunday morning just hours after it was first observed by astronomers. A more current point of comparison is the Chelyabinsk meteor- a ~ 20-meter asteroid that blew up in the environment over Russian Federation on February 15, 2013, shattering windows and falling observers as a fireball brighter than the sun progressed in the blue early morning Ural sky.

It was also incredibly fast-it was traveling at a speed of 66,174 miles per hour, or Mach 86. Every ~2.5 years the space rock crosses the orbits of Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars-although not necessarily making close approaches to the planets themselves.

So even if there's not a lot of advance warning, EarthSky.org said, Earth's atmosphere does a pretty good job of protecting the planet from incoming asteroids, with most exploding high in the atmosphere, or over an ocean, doing little to no harm.

If GE3 2018 fell to the Ground, it would cause regional rather than global damage and perhaps it would fall apart in the atmosphere before reaching the Earth's surface.

Based upon the strength of its shown sunshine, 2018 GE3 needs to be 48 to 110 meters large, inning accordance with NASA-JPL. 2018 GE3 was found less than a day before before its closest approach. An interactive 3D orbit of the asteroid is available from JPL: explore it here!



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