Alert: Asteroid To Pass Within 1.7 Million Miles Of Earth
Tomorrow on Friday (February 2nd, 2024), an asteroid named “2008 0S7” as big as the Seattle Columbia Tower will pass within 1.7 million miles of Earth. If you’re worried - the asteroid will wiz by us at seven times further than the distance of the moon.
Friday’s flyby is only one of several asteroids passing by our planet this week. Three smaller asteroids - that look to be 20 to 30 feet across - will slip past on Friday. Two more small asteroids will slip past on Saturday. Sunday, an asteroid roughly half the size of 2008 0S7 will swing by, staying 4.5 million miles away.
How many asteroids have narrowly missed Earth?
Earth has had several close encounters with asteroids.
The 2013 meteor - with a rock measuring 65 feet in diameter, entered Earth’s atmosphere and exploded over Russia, causing more than 1,500 injuries as well as breaking numerous windows in the region.
Another significant near-miss was “ 2019 OK” when an asteroid the size of a city block came within 45,000 miles of Earth in 2019. Had the asteroid struck our planet, Experts think it could have caused a lot of damage and panic.
Another significant asteroid event was the “Tunguska Impact of 1908.” The space rock collided with our atmosphere, causing an explosion over Siberia that flattened an estimated 800 square miles (2,000 square kilometers) of forest. Experts estimated the asteroid or comet to be about 100 to 200 feet in size due to the airburst explosion.
Astronomers are looking closely at a close fly-by in 2029
On Friday, April 13th, 2029 (yes, this will be a Friday the 13th, an asteroid named Apophis will pass by us at an estimated distance of 19,000 miles from our surface.
On the day of Apophis zipping by, it will be visible from Europe, Africa, and western Asia looking like a quickly moving bright star across the sky.
Is there an organization on the lookout for dangerous asteroids?
The Planetary Defense Coordination Office began operation in 2016. Its mission is to look for and keep track of near-Earth objects such as comets, asteroids, and potentially hazardous objects that could impact and wreak havoc. They would also assist the U.S. government prepare for a rock that had us in its sights. The Planetary Defense would help organize a space mission to usher the potentially dangerous rock away from Earth.
INFO: The Associated Press, Astronomy.com
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Gallery Credit: Rob Carroll