The 50m asteroid passed closer to the Earth than any other large asteroid in recorded history.
The record-breaking close approach saw the rock pass within just 27,700km of the planet which is within the orbit of geosynchronous satellites. If it hit then it would have had enough destructive force to wipe out a city the size of London along with far-reaching environmental consequences, however as predicted it safely passed us by and is now heading back off in to space.
"When asteroids come this close, it's very important to try to learn about them - it's become so bright, so it's so easy to study," said Prof Alan Fitzsimmons of Queens University. "We get an additional insight into these small objects, which are the most likely impactors on Earth." Thousands of people around the world looked to the skies with binoculars, telescopes and the naked eye to try and catch a glimpse of the rock as it hurtled past.
"An asteroid as large as an Olympic swimming pool has raced past the Earth at a distance of just 27,700km (17,200mi) - the closest ever predicted for an object of that size."
View: Full article | Source: BBC News
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