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A giant 'city-killer' asteroid just missed hitting Earth yesterday

Friday, July 26, 2019 • Tamil Comments
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A giant city-killer asteroid just missed hitting Earth yesterday

Earth had a dangerously close encounter yesterday with an asteroid, dubbed a 'city-killer,' that zoomed past it at 24 km/sec, and narrowly missed colliding into the Earth, according to scientists. The fast-moving asteroid was estimated to be between 187 feet and 426 feet in diameter. It was just under 45,000 miles (72,500 km) from Earth, which is considered a considerably safe distance but is still too close by space standards as the distance is only 1/5th of that between the Earth and the Moon.

The Asteroid, named 2019 OK, was big enough to wipe out an entire city, according to the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It flew past Earth at 10.52 am IST, and would have generated energy 30 times that of the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima if it had hit Earth. "NASA and other observatories spot asteroids the size of 2019 OK when they're much farther from Earth, giving more lead time to understand and, if necessary, prepare for a meteor strike. But in this case, the asteroid approached not from the dark of deep space, but from the Sun," an Astronomy report read.A giant city-killer asteroid just missed hitting Earth yesterday"Just as baseball players have trouble spotting balls when the Sun is in their eyes, so too do telescopes have a harder time tracking small objects when they're closer to the Sun. It's possible other such objects likewise sneak by Earth under cover of light. But the bigger the asteroid, the harder it is to hide, and NASA is keeping their eyes open," the report further added.

According to NASA, Asteroid 2019 OK has come close to Earth in the past, but never so close. It was over 25 million miles away from the surface of Earth when it visited last on February 1, 2017. It is expected to come again in 2024 within 46 million miles of Earth. For reference, the sun is about 93 million miles away from Earth.

Four asteroids, of which 2019 OK was the closest and largest, flew past Earth yesterday. Asteroid HM10 was 2.9 million miles from Earth, Asteroid 2019 OD was 219,375 miles from our planet's surface, while Asteroid 2019 OE came within 602,000 miles from Earth.

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