Published: Sat, July 27, 2019
Research | By Sheri Schwartz

Pyramid-sized 'city-killer' asteroid just missed Earth

Pyramid-sized 'city-killer' asteroid just missed Earth

The rock's trajectory put it on a path that sent it straight towards Earth from the direction of the Sun. Astronomy teams located in Brazil and the USA identified the asteroid, and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory confirmed the discovery. This is one of the best known photographs of an asteroid, in this case, taken from only 3,200 miles above the surface.

"It snuck up on us pretty quickly", said Brown, an associate professor with Australia's Monash University's School of Physics and Astronomy. In more modern history - 2013, to be precise - a meteor over Chelyabinsk in Russian Federation produced a massive explosion that shattered windows, damaged structures, and caused more than 1,000 injuries.

Swinburne University astronomer Alan Duffy told the Sydney Morning Herald the asteroid would hit with the impact of an atomic bomb.

Astronomers are well aware of the risks posed by asteroids hitting Earth.

Lastly, asteroid 2019 OE came to within 601,000 miles of Earth. Details about the event are rolling in and joining them is an animation that helps the public visualize just how close the asteroid came to our planet.

Though the asteroid could have been devastating if it hit the earth, it doesn't compare to the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs, which was almost 10 miles across. Given that the pale blue dot of Earth is just 12,750km across, a small nudge to a big rock may be enough to avoid annihilation.

According to NASA, Asteroid 2019 OK has been near Earth before, but never so close. For reference, the sun is about 93 million miles away from Earth. It was traveling at a speed of 42,926 miles per hour as it zipped by Earth. Though experts are tracking a large number of near-Earth objects, yesterday's asteroid 2019 OK wasn't one of them. Dr Brown wrote on The Conversation website that more than 2,000 near-Earth asteroids were detected in 2017. NASA is out here just missing asteroids that could destroy entire cities.

An asteroid dubbed a "city-killer" narrowly missed colliding into the Earth, say scientists.

While it's a common solution in films like Armageddon and Deep Impact to blow up an asteroid to keep it from striking Earth, this is not an option in real life. You betcha. That being said, I always thought that we were safe because NASA had one job.

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