Asteroid Scrapes by Earth Hours After First Being Spotted

Mindy Sparks
April 16, 2018

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. You may have missed it though; humanity only learned of the asteroid hours before the flyby. 2018 GE3 was found by the Catalina Sky Study approaching Earth on April 14th. 2018 GE3 was discovered less than a day prior to prior to its closest method. Austrian amateur astronomer Michael Jäger recorded the object as it passed through the southern constellations Serprens.

An asteroid as big as a football field scraped by Earth early Sunday just hours after it was first spotted by a NASA-affiliated observatory in Arizona. It missed us by just 119,427 miles.

The intensity of the light reflected off of 2018 GE3 indicates that it's between 157 feet and 360 feet wide. That's closer than the moon, which orbits Earth at an average distance of 238,900 miles. "It was shining like a 13th-magnitude star at the time of my observations", Jäger said. A more recent point of comparison is the Chelyabinsk meteor-a ~20-meter asteroid that exploded in the atmosphere over Russian Federation on February 15, 2013, shattering windows and toppling onlookers as a fireball brighter than the sun blossomed in the blue morning Ural sky.


If 2018 GE3 had actually struck Earth, it would have triggered local, not worldwide, damage, and may have broken down in the environment prior to reaching the ground.

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.

In 2020, NASA plans to give its Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) a live trial.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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