Close Call: Giant Asteroid Flies Through the Earth-Moon Orbit

Close Call: Giant Asteroid Flies Through the Earth-Moon Orbit

An asteroid whose size is about a football field fly close to the Earth on Sunday and it is said to be one of the closet encounters for the planets. The estimated diameter of the space rock ranged from 131 to 328 feet, CNEOS reports.

Only a handful of scientists at NASA detected the asteroid as little as 21 hours before it crossed Earth by a narrow margin.

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, Arizona. Some hours later, Spaceweather.com reported that an amateur astronomer Michael Jager of Weibenkirchen Austria has posted the video of the asteroid that was recorded when asteroid fly past through the southern constellation Serpens.

Asteroid 2018 GE3 could be several times bigger than the meteor that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, five years ago, creating a shockwave that blew out thousands of windows in the city of Chelyabinsk, causing hundreds of minor injuries.

"It might make you feel better (or worse) to know that asteroids enter Earth's atmosphere unnoticed on a fairly regular basis".

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Nearly a day later, asteroid 2018 GE3 came whizzing by at about half the distance between Earth and the moon, notes Fox News. "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.

Had it entered the atmosphere, a great portion of the asteroid would have broken up, but some might have made it through to the Earth's surface, EarthSky says.

Last week, Sputnik reported that NASA is scrambling to track 17,000 big near-Earth objects (NEOs), including asteroids. This sized Astroid may make some regional damage according to its speed, angle and impact location.

The asteroid, dubbed 2018 GE3, passed by Earth at 2:41 EDT Sunday morning and was estimated to be between 157 to 361 feet in diameter.

That's significantly smaller than the 2018 GE3 asteroid.

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