Chicago (IL) - Was it almost the end of the world as we know it? Yesterday morning at 12:40AM, as many of us were peacefully sleeping in our beds, just 60,000 kilometers over the southwest Pacific an asteroid previously undetected by astronomers zoomed past Earth, and it was honestly a close call.
The asteroid was detected by Rob McNaught, of the Siding Spring Observatory near Coonabarabran, in a search for asteroids funded by NASA. He was able to detect that it would just miss hitting our planet Earth.
The asteroid is estimated to be between 30 and 50 meters wide, and was several times closer to Earth than the moon when it passed (the moon is about 240,000 miles away). An object of this size has never been seen that close to earth, though thousands of asteroids have been close enough to potentially be dangerous to our lives.
Had the asteroid hit the ocean, it would have done a lot of damage, potentially causing a Tsunami.
As the asteroid approached earth yesterday morning it was glowing 5000 times brighter than it did on Friday night. It has been said that had the asteroid appeared to be moving toward planet Earth, there would have been time to prepare.
It would take a 1000 kilometer-wide asteroid to cause our planet devastation. This 50 meter asteroid would not have ended our lives, but could have caused mass destruction.
Objects larger than one kilometer wide typically only hit the world every few million years, but ones large enough to threaten a city do hit every 100 years or so.