Asteroid near-miss: 177-foot rock narrowly skims Earth after being spotted just days ago
Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) announced that the asteroid 2019 QQ swooped by Earth at 9:30 EST (3:30 BST) on Friday night, according to Inquisitr. The huge asteroid was only discovered earlier this week after being picked up by NASA on August 21 – just two days before it skimmed by Earth. The near-miss was its closest-ever approach to Earth, according to the JPL.
JPL also classified the asteroid as a near-Earth object (NEO), specifically an Apollo-type asteroid.
NEOs are celestial objects such as comments or asteroid that orbit between 91 million and 121 million miles from the sun.
When NEOs orbit around the sun they can comes as close as a few times the distance to the moon to Earth.
However, the asteroid was also branded as potentially “Earth-crossing”.
NASA said space rocks like the asteroid 2019 QQ move around the solar system on an orbital path that occasionally allows them to cross Earth’s orbit.
Although the asteroid was only just discovered, it is reportedly a frequent visitor through our part of the solar system.
JPL scientists were able to compile a list of upcoming encounters with Earth, stretching seven decades into the future.
In the last 40 years, the asteroid 2019 QQ has flown by Earth seven times.
Over the next 70 years, the asteroid could flyby Earth as many as twenty-eight times.
Back in July, Earth narrowly avoided a cataclysmic “tragedy” in July when Asteroid 2019 OK shot past the planet.
Like the asteroid 2019 QQ, the flyby took the world by surprise as it only appeared on our radars the day before.
Measuring between 190ft and 426ft across, the space rock packed the potential power to wipe out an entire city, killing thousands in the process.
Dr Anna Łosiak from the Polish Academy of Sciences told the Polish Press Agency (PAP): “If the asteroid had hit Earth, a crater measuring 2km to 4km (1.2 to 2.5 miles) in diameter and 100m (328ft) deep would have appeared.”
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