NASA Solarsystem Collection
File photo: Asteroid Ida
You just have to face facts; the universe is throwing stuff at the Earth all the time. One of these days, something’s gonna hit us - but not on Wednesday. In just a few hours, two small asteroids will buzz the planet.
The Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona scans for anything headed our way. Sunday morning, Sky Survey astronomers spotted two asteroids that would zip close by the Earth.
The first one, 2010 RX 30, is at least 30 meters long. Its closest pass: about 154,000 miles. That’s 40 percent closer than the Moon.
The second asteroid, 2010 RF 12, is about 20 meters long; it will miss us by a mere 49,000 miles. That’s about 80 percent closer than the Moon.
Scared? Don’t be. Astronomers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena say an asteroid at least 10 meters across gets close to the Earth every day. It’s just life in the Big... Universe.
Once every 10 years, one of those 10-meter asteroids sails into the atmosphere. Most of ‘em burn up – but every now and then, a space rock rocks us.
A large meteorite exploded above Siberia a hundred years ago – and flattened 80 million trees. The last time a really big asteroid hit the Earth was about 700 B.C. in what’s now Estonia.
The first asteroid will pass by Wednesday at 2:51 in the morning, and the second at 2:12 in the afternoon. The folks at JPL say you can see that first one if you have a good-sized telescope.