asteroid

A Large ‘Chelyabinsk’-Sized Asteroid Will Sweep Past Earth On Tuesday And Be Closer Than The Moon

It’s nothing to be alarmed about, but a large asteroid capable of damaging a town will on Tuesday September 1, 2020 come much closer to Earth than anyone should be comfortable with.

While most asteroids pass by beyond the orbit of the Moon, asteroid 2011 ES4 will, on Tuesday, get to a distance equivalent to between the Moon and the Earth.

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How big is 2011 ES4?

2011 ES4 is a reasonably large and dangerous asteroid.

It’s about 82 feet/25 meters in diameter, so much larger than asteroid 2020 QG, which passed very close to Earth during August and was only noticed a few hours after its closest approach.

If it struck Earth it could damage a town, but

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Closest-ever asteroid to pass Earth and not hit it just squeaked by

This illustration depicts an asteroid, though not the one that squeezed by Earth on Aug. 16.


NASA/JPL-CalTech

We’ve gotten pretty good at spotting worrisome asteroids and tracking their paths. But sometimes the little ones sneak by, like asteroid 2020 QG did on Sunday.

The European Space Agency (ESA) NEO Coordination Centre, which monitors near-Earth objects, called 2020 QG “the closest asteroid ever observed to pass by our planet without hitting it” in a statement on Tuesday.

The asteroid snuggled up to Earth on Aug. 16, which was the same day it was first spotted by the Zwicky Transient Facility, an astronomical survey that looks out for these sorts of things. 

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