London bus-sized ASTEROID missed us by 240 miles on Friday 13
On Friday 13th, a London bus-sized asteroid missed the Earth by only 240 miles (386 km).
The news of the massive space rock came a day after, astronomers have revealed.
The asteroid named ‘2020 VT4’ was spotted 15 hours after its closest approach to our planet, Daily Mail reports. It was detected by the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System on Mauna Loa, Hawaii.
If the astronomical object, which was estimated to be 16–33 feet (5–10 m), had come closer to the Earth, it would have burned up in the atmosphere over the South Pacific.
A Record Close-Shave: Asteroid 2020 VT4 Just Skimmed by the Earth – @Astroguyz on the closest observed Earth-crosser that failed to produce a meteor: https://t.co/sbrWc822up pic.twitter.com/6WzAt2WMIe
— Universe Today (@universetoday) November 17, 2020
2020 VT4 was the closest asteroid to pass by Earth on record to date.
The asteroid’s orbit brought it about the same distance from the Earth as the International Space Station. Before being given the name ‘2020 VT4,’ the massive space rock was called ‘A10sHcN.’
Astronomer Tony Dunn, who runs the website ‘Orbit Simulator,’ said in a Twitter post:
“Newly-discovered asteroid A10sHcN approached Earth yesterday, passing only a few hundred miles above the South Pacific Ocean. This encounter shortened its orbit, ensuring that this Earth-crosser will make more frequent close approaches.”
Newly-discovered asteroid A10sHcN approached Earth yesterday, passing only a few hundred miles above the South Pacific Ocean. This encounter shortened its orbit, ensuring that this Earth-crosser will make more frequent close approaches.https://t.co/TmkzojIzPf pic.twitter.com/XrnKiiGTyJ
— Tony Dunn (@tony873004) November 14, 2020
Luckily, this particular asteroid was at a safe distance while making its closest approach to our planet. Experts claim that an asteroid would need to be at least 82ft (25m) across to wreak localized damage on the Earth’s surface and about 0.6–1.2mi (1–2 km) to have global impacts.
Besides, 2020 VT4 was small enough to be considered non-dangerous, compared to the Chelyabinsk meteor that exploded above Russia in 2013 and shattered the windows of thousands of buildings, which was 30 times bigger.
— Dave 'Indoor Cat' Dickinson (@Astroguyz) November 17, 2020
Earlier this year, another astronomical object made a close approach to our planet.
In August, an asteroid named ‘2020 QG’ passed within just 1,830mi(2,945km) of Earth. Similarly, astronomers did not spot the space body until after it had passed on.
At the time, NASA wrote:
“At roughly 10 to 20 feet (3 to 6 meters) across, asteroid 2020 QG is very small by asteroid standards: If it had actually been on an impact trajectory, it would likely have become a fireball as it broke up in Earth’s atmosphere, which happens several times a year.”