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Football Field-Sized Asteroid Makes a Surprising Close Approach to Earth

16 Apr 2018, 16:19 UTC
Football Field-Sized Asteroid Makes a Surprising Close Approach to Earth
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An asteroid estimated to be even 110 meters wide, made a surprising fly-by of Earth on Sunday, April 15, just few hours after it was detected by astronomers. The space rock, designated 2018 GE3, passed by our planet at around 6:41 UTC at a distance of about 0.5 lunar distances (LD), or 192,000 kilometers.2018 GE3 is an Apollo-type near-Earth object (NEO) detected April 14 by by the Catalina Sky Survey (CSS). CSS is a project to discover comets and asteroids, and to search for near-Earth objects (NEOs), based at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Lab in Tucson, Arizona.Observations reveal that 2018 GE3 has an estimated diameter between 34 and 110 meters. It has an absolute magnitude of 23.8, and orbits the sun every two and a half years at a distance of approximately 1.85 AU. On Sunday, it flew by the Earth with a relative velocity of about 29.6 km/s.According to astronomers, 2018 GE3 is the largest known asteroid to ever pass that close to Earth in observational history. Asteroid Apophis will break both this records when it will whiz by our planet at only 0.098 LD (37,600 kilometers) on April 13, 2029.Besides close approach to Earth on ...

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