A huge asteroid rushed past the Earth

Pablo Tucker
July 30, 2019

A large asteroid just whizzed past our planet - and astronomers weren't expecting it.

A 427-foot-wide asteroid with the potential to wipe out an entire city passed by the Earth earlier this week. It was only first seen a couple of days ago and was only confirmed to be an asteroid in the past day.

The rock, named Asteroid 2019 OK, flew just 45,000 miles (73,000 kilometers) from Earth, which is less than 20% of the distance between Earth and the moon, the Business Insider reported. That is short of what one-fifth of the separation to the moon and what Duffy thinks about awkwardly close.

Michael Brown, who is an associate professor in astronomy at Monash University in Australia wrote in The Conversation that if the asteroid had collided with the Earth, devastating damages would have been caused by the crash. "The lack of warning shows how quickly potentially risky asteroids can sneak up on us" said Brown.

There are nearly 20,000 near-Earth asteroids and they sometimes make their arrival too unexpected.

Both the 2019 OK and Chelyabinsk meteor snuck past devices of astronomers & paid surprise visits.

Had the asteroid hit, the impact would have been similar to the explosion of a nuclear weapon.

"It snuck up on us pretty quickly", he told The Washington Post. Earth itself is over 7,900 miles in diameter.

Astronomers around the world continue to work to monitor any asteroids that pose danger to us. For example, NASA is tracking over 90 percent of the asteroids that are 0.62 miles (1 km) or larger and are orbiting close to our planet, according to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

"All we have to do is change its speed a little faster or a little slower so that when it crosses Earth's orbit, it crosses either in front of us or behind us", said Dr. Lori Glaze, director of planetary science at NASA. So the agency plans to launch the Near Earth Object Camera in 2021. Some would suggest the destruction of the asteroid in space, but Brown recommends that a "gentle nudge rather than a vicious kick" would be much better.

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