Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
Research | By Jody Lindsey

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

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

A HUGE asteroid appeared without warning over the weekend, barely missing Earth.

The asteroid was first observed by the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey project, based at the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Lab in Tucson, Time magazine reported. This puts him in the same class as a 60-foot meteor in Tunguska, which flattened a forest in Siberia in 1908. 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. 2018 GE3 could be 5 to 6 times broader than that item.

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When the extraterrestrial object hit the atmosphere it caused a bright flash, and thousands of rock fragments fell throughout the region of Chelyabinsk, causing damage to infrastructure and injuring approximately 1,500 people. Nonetheless, it is a substantial asteroid, showing how even big area rocks can still take us by surprise. The asteroid crosses the orbits of Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars every 2.5 years, although not necessarily making close approaches to those planets. That's closer than the moon, which orbits Earth at an average distance of 238,900 miles.

EarthSky.org said a preliminary analysis of the asteroid's orbit showed this was the closest 2018 GE has come to Earth since at least 1930.

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