An asteroid the size of a bus cruised past Earth on the morning of Oct. 2, but fortunately it never was a threat to our planet.
Earth got a bit of a close call Monday morning after an asteroid the size of a bus flew inside the orbit of the moon. The asteroid, which is approximately 26 feet wide and named 2017 SX 17, came just 54,100 miles from the planet, which is pretty close considering the moon is 239,000 miles away from us.
The asteroid was speeding at a blistering 16,350 miles per hour compared to Earth. It was first discovered on Sept. 24 and has been studied by many major telescopes around the world. As a result, scientists learned that the space rock orbits the sun once every 467 days here on Earth.
We’ll get another close encounter in a week and a half, when asteroid 2012 TC4 will pass just 27,000 miles from the Earth’s surface on Oct. 12. This rock is even bigger at 39 feet to 88 feet wide, which would be about the same size as the meteor that blew up over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk back on Feb. 13.
“A small asteroid designated 2012 TC4 will pass very close to Earth on Oct. 12, and even though scientists cannot yet predict exactly how close it will approach, they are certain that the asteroid will fly by at a safe distance from our planet,” reads a statement from NASA. “This asteroid has not been seen since the week it was discovered in October 2012, when it sped past Earth at about one-fourth the distance from Earth to the moon. Estimated to be only 30 to 100 feet (10 to 30 meters) in size, the asteroid has been too distant and too faint to be detected over the last five years. As it starts to approach Earth this summer, large telescopes will be used to re-establish its precise trajectory. The new observations are expected to help refine knowledge about its orbit, narrowing the uncertainty about how far it will be from Earth at its closest approach in October.”