Tags: asteroid | space | astronomy

Astronomers: Undetected 'City-Killer' Asteroid Barely Missed Earth

A man with a telescope in Austria
A man with a telescope in Austria (Georg Hochmuch/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 26 July 2019 02:14 PM

A huge asteroid just missed Earth and wasn't noticed by astronomers until the very last minute, The Washington Post is reporting.

The asteroid seemingly appeared from "out of nowhere," said Michael Brown, a Melbourne, Australia observational astronomer.

NASA estimated the object was 187-427 feet wide and missed Earth by 45,0000 miles this week — less than one-fifth of the distance to the Moon, according to the newspaper.

Alan Duffy, lead scientist at the Royal Institution of Australia said it came "uncomfortably close."

"It snuck up on us pretty quickly," added Brown.

Brown later noted, "People are only sort of realizing what happened pretty much after it's already flung past us.

"It's probably the largest asteroid to pass this close to Earth in quite a number of years."

The asteroid's "eccentric obit" and speed were considered factors in why it was hard to detect earlier.

Duffy said astronomers consider this type of space rock to be "city-killer asteroids."

If the asteroid had struck Earth it would have likely resulted in devastating damage, Brown said.

"It would have gone off like a very large nuclear weapon" with enough force to destroy a city, he said. "Many megatons, perhaps in the ballpark of 10 megatons of TNT, so something not to be messed with."

Astronomy magazine reported that while the asteroid would have delivered quite a blow to any city it struck, it would not have been a devastating, worldwide event.

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A huge asteroid just missed Earth this week and wasn't noticed by astronomers until the very last minute.
asteroid, space, astronomy
237
2019-14-26
Friday, 26 July 2019 02:14 PM
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