Earth Has Near Miss With Asteroid Spotted Just Hours Earlier

The Chelyabinsk meteorite causing sharp explosions and injurig many

Camera Icon The Chelyabinsk meteorite causing sharp explosions and injurig

A couple of times a week, on average, an asteroid will come closer than the distance to the moon, but most of those are hunks about the size of a bus or maybe a house.

According to EarthSky.org, the 150-foot asteroid wasn't located until April 14 by the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona.

Based upon an observational arc of just 1 day, 2018 GE3 appears to follow an elliptical orbit which extends from the asteroid belt to deep inside the inner planetary system. "Hours later, amateur astronomer Michael Jäger of Weißenkirchen Austria video-recorded the space rock gliding through the southern constellation Serpens", Spaceweather.com reported.

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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. It missed us by just 119,427 miles. That's a little under half the distance between the Earth and the Moon.

That's significantly smaller than the 2018 GE3 asteroid. "It was shining like a 13th-magnitude star at the time of my observations", Jäger said.

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. There really is no telling, as mapping the impact trajectories of objects crashing down to Earth is notoriously hard, and scientists were left with just a few hours to scramble for this one.

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Five years ago, the 10,000-ton, 56-foot Chelyabinsk meteor exploded over Russian Federation with the force of 30 atomic bombs.

2018 GE3, by comparison, is between 200 and 400 feet (48-110 meters) in diameter, or more like the size of a large warehouse. The survey's task is to discover and track near-Earth objects.

According to EarthSky.org, Asteroid 2018 GE3 could be as much as six times bigger than the Chelyabinsk meteorite, which exploded over central Russian Federation in 2013. DART theoretically works by plunging into an asteroid and knocking it off its collision course.

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