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. The asteroids which are present in this belt do not pose any threat to the Earth. The asteroid was discovered just one day before it flies close to the earth surface and this is what scientists are calling as " surprise" flyby.
'Hours later, amateur astronomer Michael Jäger of Weißenkirchen Austria video-recorded the space rock gliding through the southern constellation Serpens'. However, at 44 to 110 meters in diameter, this asteroid is big enough to cause massive damage if it was to hit our planet.
This newfound asteroid is nearly three to six times bigger than another recent meteor which broke up over Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 2013. 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.
"It doesn't take a very large object".
The asteroid which flies past the earth has a speed about 66,000 miles per hour but the speed will have broken down once the asteroid enters the Earth's atmosphere.
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This particular asteroid was not just larger that the one that struck Tunguska, it was estimated to produced 185 times more energy than the Hiroshima atomic bomb, a report in space.com said.
The asteroid was first perceived by astronomers at the Catalina Telescope at the University of Arizona, only 21 hours before its nearest passage from Earth on Monday morning broadcasts the Athenian-Macedonian News Agency. It may make you feel much better (or even worse) to understand that asteroids get in Earth's environment undetected on a relatively routine basis.
Illustration of the orbit of asteroid 2018 GE3.
It came within half the distance between the Earth and the moon.