Biggest asteroid this year flew between Earth and Moon.Scientists realised it 2 days later
Dubbed 2020 LD and measuring nearly 100 metres in diameter , the asteroid, travelling at a speed of 60,826 miles per hour - came closer to Earth than even the Moon on June 5.Updated: Jul 06, 2020 20:00 IST
Asteroids fly past our planet Earth fairly regularly and scientists are usually not only aware but even predict the dates and timings about when a particular asteroid will swing by Earth.
However, an asteroid flew by Earth and astronomers didn’t realise it till a couple of days later!
Dubbed 2020 LD and measuring nearly 100 metres in diameter , the asteroid, travelling at a speed of 60,826 miles per hour - came closer to Earth than even the Moon on June 5.
According to European Space Agency (ESA), the space rock was just 0.8 lunar distances away from Earth. So, if the moon is 384, 317 km away from Earth, asteroid 2020 LD 307,454 km away when it flew by.
It was not only the biggest asteroid to pass between Earth and the Moon this year, but the biggest to come this close to earth since 2011, and also ranked as one of the biggest ever to fly this close to Earth without being previously detected, according to website Earth Sky.
In fact, scientist discovered this near-Earth approach only on June 7 when astronomers in Hawaii first noticed 2020 LD travelling at 60,826 miles per hour (97,890 km/h) relative to Earth.
Scientist realized that the space rock had its closest approach to Earth two days before only after analysing its orbit.
Given its size, had 2020 LD hit Earth, it could have caused considerable damage. Just to put things in perspective, a space rock that caused the a crater around 1.2 km wide near Flagstaff, Arizona was estimated to be about 150 feet (or about 46 metres) in diameter. And that asteroid had struck some 50,000 years ago!
Just a heads up, folks!
The ESA has identified an asteroid that has a non-zero chance of colliding with Earth in September, according to a report in ibtimes.com.
The space agency has predicted that the asteroid, identified as 2018 SV13, has a chance of hitting Earth on Sept 22. It is currently included in the ESA’s Risk List, which is an online catalog of asteroids that have non-zero impact probabilities. This means that all asteroids featured in the list have a chance of hitting Earth in the future.