'Tunguska'-size asteroid 2018 GE3 gives Earth surprise flyby

Asteroid

Asteroid buzzed Earth this weekend

The asteroid "2018 GE3", which was slightly larger than the one that exploded over Tunguska in Siberia in 1908, flattening 2,000 square kilometers of forest, passed at a distance of 192,300 kilometers, nearly half the distance of the Moon from Earth, according to the US Space Agency (NASA).

"2018 GE3 was discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey approaching Earth on April 14th".

According to NASA's website, the estimated diameter of the rock ranged from 131 to 328 feet. Those asteroids, however, pose no threat to Earth.

The football field-size asteroid darted past us at half the lunar moon distance on Sunday, hours after it was first spotted. That's about three to six times wider than the space rock that penetrated the Earth's atmosphere in 2013 and exploded over the city of Chelyabinsk in Russian Federation, packing 20 to 30 times the energy of the Hiroshima atomic bomb, notes EarthSky. Some hours later, Spaceweather.com reported that an amateur astronomer Michael Jager of Weibenkirchen Austria has posted the video of the asteroid that was recorded when asteroid fly past through the southern constellation Serpens.

"It doesn't take a very large object".

It's a general rule to trust governments and space agencies to be able to do things like detect oncoming asteroids that might impact the earth at some point. "A 10-meter size object already packs the same energy as a nuclear bomb", Andrew Cheng, who led a 2000-2001 mission for NASA to orbit and land on an asteroid, told Fox News at the time.

Had it entered the atmosphere, a great portion of the asteroid would have broken up, but some might have made it through to the Earth's surface, EarthSky says.

Its closest approach to our planet occurred at around 2:41 a.m. EDT (06:41 GMT) on Sunday, when the asteroid came just 192,000 kilometers (119,500 miles) away from Earth's atmosphere. At least three other small space rocks are set to fly past Earth on Tuesday - with the largest measuring 111 feet around.

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