"Surprise" Asteroid Makes Close Flyby to Earth

18 April, 2018, 03:19 | Author: Bertha Harmon
  • Asteroid buzzed Earth this weekend

A previously undetected asteroid the size of a football field just missed the Earth have the distance to the Moon, and no one saw it until the last minute.

The asteroid, named Asteroid 2018 GE3, was closest to Earth at around 2.41 a.m. ET on April 15 when it was spotted about 119,500 miles away, EarthSky.org reports.

NASA's Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) estimated the size at between 131 and 328 feet.

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According to NASA, it posted on its website that it is nothing as compared to asteroids which are present in between the Mars and Jupiter, whose length can spread across 580 miles. Those asteroids, however, pose no threat to Earth.

It's being called a "surprise" because it was only discovered this past Saturday. That's about three to six times wider than the space rock that penetrated the Earth's atmosphere in 2013 and exploded over the city of Chelyabinsk in Russian Federation, packing 20 to 30 times the energy of the Hiroshima atomic bomb, notes EarthSky.

According to ScienceAlert, 2018 GE3 buzzed by at a speed of 106,000 kilometers per hour (66,000 miles per hour), and would have caused some serious damage had it collided with our planet. "A 10-meter size object already packs the same energy as a nuclear bomb", Andrew Cheng, who led a 2000-2001 mission for NASA to orbit and land on an asteroid, told Fox News at the time.

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If asteroid 2018 GE3 had hit Earth, a great portion of the space rock might have disintegrated.

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.

"An asteroid this big is capable of causing some regional damage, depending on various factors such as composition, speed, entry angle, and location of impact". It has since been labeled 2018 GE3 and it passed by the planet at close range mere hours after detection.

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