Scientists on Earth and in space were shocked when an asteroid flew by Earth early morning Monday. Experts estimated the size of the asteroid close to that of a 10-storey building.
Astronomers from the University of Arizona Catalina Sky Survey spotted the asteroid named 2017 AG13 on Saturday. Citing a video feed from Slooh, it noted that the distance between the flyby measured 239,000 miles, nearly half the distance between the Earth and the Moon.
2017 AG13 Asteroid
The 2017 AG13 takes 347 Earth days to complete an orbit around the Sun. Experts estimated its size to be between 36 and 111 feet in diameter. It circles the Sun in a more elliptical manner than the Earth’s.
Astronomers claim that the incident is not a rare occurrence, as reported by Space. In fact, millions of flyby happen around the Earth’s surroundings, but only around 15,000 of which have been detected to date.
The report, however, added that massive asteroids large enough to cause major devastation on Earth have been detected by scientists. NASA scientists added that none of these encounters are seen to cause serious threat on Earth in the near future.
Slooh astronomer Eric Edelman said during the live broadcast of the flyby on Monday that 2017 AG13 moved rapidly. It entered the orbits of Mars and Earth. Slooh started broadcasting the flyby at 7:47 a.m. ET, Business Insider reported.
“This is moving very quickly, very nearby to us. It actually crosses the orbits of two planets, Venus and Earth,” Edelman said.
While some reports noted that this kind of incident could potentially cause catastrophe, an analysis of an impact simulator from Purdue University showed otherwise. Had the asteroid hit Earth’s surface, it won’t have much effect on the ground. It is because it would probably explode 10 miles away from the surface.
The Business Insider also reported that people on the ground would not feel its 700-kiloton amount of energy released by the explosion. This, despite how it is almost equivalent to a multitude of atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.