A football-sized asteroid - labeled 2018 GE3 - buzzed by Earth on April 16, 2018. The orbit appears to extend to the inner part of the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. There would be no risk to the Earth as a whole if the size of the asteroid is less than 1km.
The giant asteroid, estimated to be between 47 and 100 metres in width, was flew by Earth at a speed of 106,000 kilometres per hour.
The asteroid, named Asteroid 2018 GE3, was closest to Earth at around 2.41 a.m. ET on April 15 when it was spotted about 119,500 miles away, EarthSky.org reports. Reports suggest that the the asteroid was as close to planet Earth as half the average distance between the Earth and the Moon. For comparison, the Chelyabinsk meteorite that hit Russian Federation in February 2013 was about three to six times smaller in diameter, yet its explosion in the atmosphere damaged over 7,000 buildings and injured some 1,500 people due to shattered glass.
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The asteroid, dubbed 2018 GE3, passed by Earth at 2:41 EDT Sunday morning and was estimated to be between 157 to 361 feet in diameter. Anyway, it is a close call but it had made any minor contact with the Earth's surface than it will be more painful to read this story that explains the deaths and destructions.
NASA, which funds the Catalina Sky Survey, noted that 2018 GE3 passed even closer to the moon about four hours after its close call with Earth.
"An asteroid this big is capable of causing some regional damage, depending on various factors such as composition, speed, entry angle, and location of impact".
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Was Earth in danger? Astronomers have increased their programs to seek near-Earth asteroids like 2018 GE3, but sometimes - like this time and as in 2013 with the Chelyabinsk event - asteroids do still surprise us.
This is the unnoticed closest asteroid approach to the Earth ever.
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