A “CITY-KILLER” ASTEROID JUST MISSED HITTING EARTH TODAY
BY MATT KEELEY ON 7/25/19 AT 5:33 PM EDT
Earth nearly had a devastating collision with an asteroid travelling at nearly 15 miles a second today.
Asteroid 2019 OK, estimated to be between 187 feet and 427 feet in diameter, came within 43,500 miles of striking the Earth — closer than the moon.
The asteroid was flying towards us from the direction of the sun, making it hard to spot. It was only first seen a few days ago, and was only confirmed to be an asteroid in the past day.
Had the asteroid hit, the impact would have been comparable to the explosion of a nuclear weapon.
“It would have hit with over 30 times the energy of the atomic blast at Hiroshima,” Swinburne University astronomer Alan Duffy told the paper, calling it a “city-killer asteroid.”
“It’s impressively close. I don’t think it’s quite sunk in yet. It’s a pretty big deal,” Associate Professor Michael Brown of Monash University’s school of physics and astronomy told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Brown said that today’s incident was one of the closest known approaches to Earth by an asteroid. The asteroid was so close that if someone were looking at the right spot in the sky, they would be able to see it using only binoculars.
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 nearly 10 miles across. Earth itself is just over 7,900 miles in diameter.
According to NASA, Asteroid 2019 OK has been near Earth before, but never so close. Its last visit was February 1, 2017, though it was over 25 million miles away from the surface of Earth. It is next expected to come within 46 million miles of Earth in 2024. For reference, the sun is about 93 million miles away from our planet.
The asteroid was one of four that flew by Earth Wednesday, though Asteroid 2019 OK was the closest and largest. Asteroid HM10 passed Earth by 2.9 million miles, Asteroid 2019 OD was 219,375 miles from Earth’s surface, and finally, Asteroid 2019 OE came within 602,000 miles from Earth, or about two and a half times the distance between Earth and the Moon. Of the three other rocks, Asteroid 2019 OD was the largest, believed to be between 170 feet and 393 feet across.
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"A City Killer Asteroid Just Missed the Earth Today." https://t.co/WEcEPCLkvx
— Sacred Geometry International (@SacredGeoInt) July 26, 2019
"It would have hit with over 30 times the energy of the atomic blast at Hiroshima," Swinburne University astronomer Alan Duffy told the paper, calling it a "city-killer asteroid."https://t.co/WEcEPCLkvx https://t.co/YffEf2REVI
— Sacred Geometry International (@SacredGeoInt) July 28, 2019