Earth Has Near Miss With Asteroid Spotted Just Hours Earlier

Olive Hawkins
April 17, 2018

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 estimated diameter of the space rock ranged from 131 to 328 feet, CNEOS reports.

Nearly a day later, asteroid 2018 GE3 came whizzing by at about half the distance between Earth and the moon, notes Fox News. The asteroids which are present in this belt do not pose any threat to the Earth. 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. "Hours later, amateur astronomer Michael Jäger of Weißenkirchen Austria video-recorded the space rock gliding through the southern constellation Serpens", Spaceweather.com reported.

If the asteroid had hit Earth, the devastation would have been regional but not global, and it's possible 2018 GE3 could have even burned up in the atmosphere before ever reaching our planet.

But an asteroid need not be in the Tunguska range to do damage: in 2013, the 65-foot-wide Chelyabinsk meteor exploded over Russian Federation, injuring 1,200 people and smashing thousands of windows.

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

Andrew Cheng, who led the NASA mission during the year 2000-2001 told Fox News that "It doesn't take a very large object".

According to ScienceAlert, 2018 GE3 buzzed by at a speed of 106,000 kilometers per hour (66,000 miles per hour), and would have caused some serious damage had it collided with our planet. First observed at Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona on Saturday, April 14, 2018, the asteroid - which has been labeled 2018 GE3 - swept past us at about half the Earth-moon distance early Sunday morning according to clocks in North America.

The intensity of the light reflected off of 2018 GE3 indicates that it's between 157 feet and 360 feet wide. At least three other small space rocks are set to fly past Earth on Tuesday - with the largest measuring 111 feet around.

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