Tuesday, 24 April, 2018

Asteroid the size of a football field makes 'surprise' flyby past Earth

Astronomers Say an Asteroid Snuck Up on Us and Almost Hit Earth Yesterday Image credit YouTube
Velma Reese | 17 April, 2018, 16:44

Since 2001, at least two other instances of asteroids coming dangerously close to Earth have occurred and those space rocks were much bigger than 2018 GE3. The orbit appears to extend to the inner part of the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

Illustration of the orbit of asteroid 2018 GE3.

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. That's in contrast to the moon's quarter-million-mile (400,000 km) distance.

The asteroid "2018 GE3", which was slightly larger than the one that exploded over Tunguska in Siberia in 1908, flattening 2,000 square kilometers of forest, passed at a distance of 192,300 kilometers, nearly half the distance of the Moon from Earth, according to the US Space Agency (NASA). NASA scientists noticed the massive asteroid at an observatory in Arizona just 21 hours prior to the flyby, ScienceAlert reported on Tuesday. However, an asteroid this size 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. For comparison, the Chelyabinsk meteorite that hit Russian Federation in February 2013 was about three to six times smaller in diameter, yet its explosion in the atmosphere damaged over 7,000 buildings and injured some 1,500 people due to shattered glass. The surprise encounter is reportedly the closest this particular rock has ever come to hitting Earth since 1930.

Government apologises for treatment of 'Windrush generation' of migrants
In the Commons on Monday, Ms Rudd acknowledged the Home Office had become "too concerned with policy and strategy" at the expense of the individual.

The 110-metre long asteroid, which has been dubbed 2018 GE3 by NASA, shot by just 192,500km away - half the distance between the Earth and the Moon.

Was Earth in danger? "2018 GE3 was found less than a day before its closest approach", said the report.

Although, asteroids are hard to track, it's rare for one to come so close to Earth without being picked up well in advance.

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