Asteroid almost smacked into Earth on November 6

November 11th, 2009 - 1:08 pm ICT by ANI  

London, November 11 (ANI): Astronomers have revealed that the Earth had a narrow escape from a cataclysm on November 6, when an asteroid came within 8,700 miles of hitting the planet.

According to a report in The Courier-Mail, astronomers spotted the object only 15 hours before its closest approach to our planet on November 6.

Its orbit brought it 30 times nearer than the Moon, which is 463,000 kilometres (250,000 miles) away.

Although the asteroid passed within 14,484 kilometres (9,000 miles) of Earth, it measured just (7 metres) 23 ft across and wouldn’t have dented the surface.

Even had it been on collision course with us, the 7 metre (23ft wide) asteroid, known as 2009 VA, is unlikely to have made much of an impact because it would probably have all but burnt up in the atmosphere.

It was picked up by the Catalina Sky Survey at the University of Arizona, then identified by the Minor Planet Centre in Cambridge, Massachusetts as a near Earth object and plotted by experts at NASA.

It was the third-closest approach on record for any asteroid that has failed to make it through our atmosphere.

Earlier, NASA scientists monitored a 30.5 metre (100ft) asteroid that passed 72,420 kilometres (45,000 miles) above our planet’s surface on March 2.

An object of similar size hit Siberia in 1908, levelling 1931 kilometres (1,200 square miles) of forest.

By 2020, NASA aims to have detected most large asteroids and comets that approach the Earth. (ANI)

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