An asteroid the size of a football field buzzed by Earth Sunday in one of the closest encounters the planet has seen in a while. "Hours later, amateur astronomer Michael Jäger of Weißenkirchen Austria video-recorded the space rock gliding through the southern constellation Serpens", Spaceweather.com reported.
The asteroid, named Asteroid 2018 GE3, was closest to Earth at around 2.41 a.m. ET on April 15 when it was spotted about 119,500 miles away, EarthSky.org reports.
The "medium-sized" space object is reportedly over three times the size of a meteor that entered the atmosphere over Russian Federation in 2013 and injured more than 1,000 people.
But an asteroid need not be in the Tunguska range to do damage: in 2013, the 65-foot-wide Chelyabinsk meteor exploded over Russian Federation, injuring 1,200 people and smashing thousands of windows.
"An asteroid this big is capable of causing some regional damage, depending on various factors such as composition, speed, entry angle, and location of impact".
"It might make you feel better (or worse) to know that asteroids enter Earth's atmosphere unnoticed on a fairly regular basis".
CNET said 2018 GE3 was among the largest space rocks to come so close to Earth. A couple of times a week, on average, an asteroid will come closer than the distance to the moon, but most of those are hunks about the size of a bus or maybe a house. Congress tasked NASA with tracking all objects bigger than 460 feet wide, which 2018 GE3 falls shy of, but NASA has only been able to identify about one-third of the estimated total so far.
Based upon the strength of its shown sunshine, 2018 GE3 needs to be 48 to 110 meters large, inning accordance with NASA-JPL.
Wikipedia and other sources are now reporting that this is the largest asteroid to ever pass this close to Earth.
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