Bus-Sized Asteroid Barely Misses Earth

January 28, 2012

Space

asteroid-impact-earth

An asteroid about the size of a bus shaved by Earth in what’s been described as a near miss. However, experts weren’t concerned that it might have impacted. This isn’t uncommon and these types of asteroids are hard to see except when they come quite close to Earth.

asteroid-impacts-earthThe asteroid, 2012 BX34, measured between 20 to 62 feet and popped into the view of an Arizona-based telescope on Wednesday. It came within 37,000 miles of Earth on Friday, at around 3PM GMT.

This near miss will make the top 20 list of closes approached asteroids that have ever been observed. NASA had announced on Twitter on Thursday that the asteroid would safely pass Earth on January 27th.

The distance is about a sixth of the one separating Earth from the Moon, and in the past year, there have been some 30 objects that were observed within the orbit of the Moon. The asteroid itself is on radar, but NASA can only predict its path for a couple of days into the future. If it was maintained on radar, the path could be detected in advance for decades.

The object is so small that even if it hits Earth during its next passage, it won’t survive entry into the Earth’s atmosphere in one piece. All that will remain are a few fist and football-sized rocks that come to the ground as meteorites.

[via Physorg, images by SpaceFellowship and Universe Today]

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