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Close shave- Giant asteroid passes within one million miles of Earth

The asteroid, known as 2014 JO25, was about 1.1 million miles away from Earth - about 4.6 times the distance between Earth and the moon - when it passed by at about 8:30 a.m. E.S.T.


Close shave- Giant asteroid passes within one million miles of Earth

New Delhi: A huge asteroid approximately 2,000 feet in size whizzed past the Earth on Wednesday - one of the closest shaves the planet has had in more than a decade.

The asteroid, known as 2014 JO25, was about 1.1 million miles away from Earth - about 4.6 times the distance between Earth and the moon - when it passed by at about 8:30 a.m. E.S.T.

According to Ian Carnelli, an astronomer from the European Space Agency (ESA), the asteroid came nearest to the Earth at 12:20 GMT.

 

The asteroid does not represent a danger to our planet, although the approach of the space rock was uncomfortably close in astronomical terms.

“2014-JO25 does not represent an immediate danger. But it does fall within the category of 'potentially hazardous asteroids' that astronomers monitor for safety, Pascal Descamps, an astronomer at the Paris Observatory told AFP by phone.

2014-JO25 approached Earth from the direction of the sun and will become visible through telescopes for several nights.

Small asteroids pass within this distance of Earth several times each week, but Wednesday's close approach is the closest by any known asteroid of this size, or larger, since asteroid Toutatis, a 3.1-mile (five-kilometer) asteroid, which approached within about four lunar distances in September 2004.

The next known encounter of an asteroid of comparable size will occur in 2027 when the half-mile-wide (800-meter-wide) asteroid 1999 AN10 will fly by at one lunar distance, about 236,000 miles (380,000 kilometers).

The impact of the asteroid hitting the Earth would unleash as much energy as about 1,000 atomic bombs the size of the one dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 - completely destroying a city the size of London or New York , causing extensive damage for hundreds of miles.

To prevent such a catastrophe, a team of astronomers from NASA and the ESA have drawn up plans for a live test in space: deviating a potentially deadly asteroid.

(With Agency inputs)

From Zee News

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