Asteroid Scrapes by Earth Hours After First Being Spotted

Astronomers Say an Asteroid Snuck Up on Us and Almost Hit Earth Yesterday

Astronomers Say an Asteroid Snuck Up on Us and Almost Hit Earth Yesterday

2018 GE3 was found by the Catalina Sky Study approaching Earth on April 14th.

The most disturbing thing about 2018 GE3 is that it wasn't spotted until it was very close to Earth, giving scientist little time to prepare or assess what the damage might be if the asteroid entered the atmosphere.

Based on the observational arc of 2018 GE3, SpaceWeather.com said, it appears to follow an elliptical orbit which stretches from the asteroid belt to inside the inner solar system. This puts him in the same class as a 60-foot meteor in Tunguska, which flattened a forest in Siberia in 1908. 2018 GE3 could be 5 to 6 times wider than that object.

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If GE3 2018 fell to the Ground, it would cause regional rather than global damage and perhaps it would fall apart in the atmosphere before reaching the Earth's surface. Nonetheless, it is a substantial asteroid, showing how even big area rocks can still take us by surprise.

A rather large asteroid in 2018 GE3 flies through the system Earth-Moon is at a distance of only 200 km. The asteroid crosses the orbits of Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars every 2.5 years, although not necessarily making close approaches to those planets. An interactive 3D orbit of the asteroid is available from JPL: explore it here!

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