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Not so close encounter with an asteroid… September 15, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Was entertained by the reports in the news media this weekend about a close encounter with asteroid 2000 QW7.

A huge asteroid up to five times as tall as Dublin’s Spire will pass by Earth tonight, scientists have said.

Asteroid 2000 QW7 is between 300 and 600 metres long, according to NASA data, but it poses no danger.

Indeed. So how close will it pass by the Earth?

It will fly by around five million kilometres from Earth at 23,000/km/h, according to NASA’s jet propulsion laboratory.

Just to put that in perspective that is:

…around 14 times the distance between the Earth and the moon

There’s a serious point here though, that there are asteroids that pass closer, much closer to the Earth. As wiki notes:

Scientists estimate that several dozen asteroids in the 6–12 m (20–39 ft) size range fly by Earth at a distance closer than the moon every year, but only a fraction of these are actually detected.[1][2]

And were some of those to impact…

For comparison, the 1908 Tunguska event was caused by an object about 60–190 m (200–620 ft) in size, while the 2013 Chelyabinsk meteor which injured thousands of people and buildings when it generated a large airburst over Russia was estimated to be just 20 m (66 ft) across.


The table shows about 14 events in the 12 decades of 1900-2020 involving a body with an upper size estimate of 100 m (330 ft) or more making a close approach to Earth within one LD, with one (the Tunguska object) making impact.


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