A "City-Killer" Asteroid Just Missed Hitting Earth Today

Pablo Tucker
July 27, 2019

Earth had a close encounter this morning when Asteroid 2019 OK sped by at 1:22 GMT, at a speed of almost 55,000 miles (88,500 kilometers) per hour.

2019 OK (which is what astronomers have named him) came hurtling through space from the direction of the sun, which means astronomers couldn't see it until it was only a few days away from potentially killing us all. This is one of the best known photographs of an asteroid, in this case, taken from only 3,200 miles above the surface.

"It's probably the largest asteroid to pass this close to Earth in quite a number of years". "It's a pretty big deal", Associate Professor Michael Brown of Monash University's school of physics and astronomy told the Sydney Morning Herald.

While the probability of an asteroid impact may be low, the effects could be cataclysmic.

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.

A NASA diagram shows how close Asteroid 2019 OK came within hitting the Earth today. The good news - aside from the obvious fact that it didn't strike Earth - is that now that astronomers know it exists they can study it and plot its course, giving us a far earlier warning if it ever ends up in our neck of the woods again.

Still, Lakdawalla said that while the asteroid's close brush with Earth may have sparked some concern, "it is zero percent danger to us".

An asteroid the size of the Great Pyramid skimmed by Earth this week. It was traveling at a speed of 42,926 miles per hour as it zipped by Earth. For reference, the sun is about 93 million miles away from our planet. On Thursday, the astronomer's phone was suddenly flooded with calls from reporters wanting to know about a large asteroid that had just whizzed past Earth, and he couldn't figure out "why everyone was so alarmed". Dr Brown wrote on The Conversation website that more than 2,000 near-Earth asteroids were detected in 2017. Of the three other rocks, Asteroid 2019 OD was the largest, believed to be between 170 feet and 393 feet across.

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.

We are already sending spacecraft to near-Earth asteroids, with NASA's OSIRIS-REx now visiting Bennu and Japan's Hayabusa2 now visiting Ryugu.

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