Closest-ever asteroid to pass Earth and not smack into it just squeaked by us on Sunday

This illustration depicts an asteroid, although not the one which squeezed by Earth on Aug. 16.


We have gotten pretty good at spotting worrisome asteroids and monitoring their paths. However generally the little ones sneak by, like asteroid 2020 QG did on Sunday.

The European House Company (ESA) NEO Coordination Centre, which screens near-Earth objects, known as 2020 QG “the closest asteroid ever noticed to go by our planet with out hitting it” in a statement on Tuesday.

The asteroid snuggled as much as Earth on Aug. 16, which was the identical day it was first noticed by the Zwicky Transient Facility, an astronomical survey that appears out for these kinds of issues. 

Two observatories that work with ESA’s Planetary Defence Workplace collected follow-up data

We now know the asteroid missed Earth by a mere 1,860 miles (3,000 kilometers). Examine that to the notably close flyby of asteroid 2020 JJ back in May. JJ got here inside 4,350 miles (7,000 kilometers) of Earth.

A visualization of 2020 QG’s path reveals it squeezing previous our planet.

This visualization tracks the trail of asteroid 2020 QG because it handed Earth.

ESA NEO Coordination Centre

ESA stated the asteroid was small, measuring in at only a few meters throughout. That scientists noticed it in any respect reveals that our potential to find and monitor near-Earth objects is getting extra refined.  

The asteroid’s dainty dimension means it wasn’t a critical menace, even when it had veered into the environment. “Had it hit the Earth, it might not have prompted any vital injury on the bottom,” ESA stated. 

Now you’ll be able to breathe your sigh of aid.  

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Amanda Kooser