Saturday, January 28, 2012

Bus-sized Asteroid Shaves by Earth

An asteroid the size of a city bus passed between the Earth and the moon on Friday, making one of the closest approaches to our planet in recorded history, scientists said.
Asteroid 2012 BX34 — discovered on Wednesday and considered “small” at 11 meters in diameter — never posed any threat to Earth.
“It makes it in to the top 20 closest approaches, but it’s sufficiently far away… that there’s absolutely no chance of it hitting us.”
The asteroid traveled within 60,000 kilometres of the Earth on its closest approach at 10:30 E.T. The average distance to the moon is roughly 385,000 km.
It would have likely broken into pieces if it entered our atmosphere, according to NASA scientists.
It’s common for asteroids to cross the Earth’s orbit but it’s rare for them to make contact.
On Nov. 8, 2005 YU55 — an asteroid size of an aircraft carrier — passed by Earth, although it didn’t come as close as Friday’s event.
NASA announced in September they’d identified about 90% of large nearby asteroids that could pose a threat to the Earth.
Large asteroids are generally the size of a mountain or bigger, according to
An asteroid or comet between five and 10 km in diameter is believed to have smashed into Earth some 65 million years ago, triggering global climate changes that led to the extinction of dinosaurs and other animals.
National Post, with a file from news services

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