Asteroid flies by Earth closer than ever seen before – NASA

NASA has detected an asteroid flying across the Earth closer as never seen before.

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NASA has detected an asteroid flying across the Earth closer as never seen before.

The tiny object, known as asteroid 2020 QG, came just 1,830 miles over the southern Indian Ocean. It was spotted by the Zwicky Transient Facility, a robotic camera that scans the sky for detecting objects. The asteroid is small and can be as equal to the size of a car.

Its small size meant that it never posed much of a threat to Earth. If it had flown towards us rather than just past, it would have turned into a fireball and broken up in Earth’s atmosphere. This has made a record for passing so close to the Earth.

Scientists have assumed that “Our calculations show that this asteroid got turned by 45 degrees or so as it swung by our planet.” Objects of such size are not rare though. Such objects often cross once in a year. But spotting such small objects is difficult. However, it has become easy with new technology.

The space agency has been tasked with finding 90 percent of near-Earth asteroids that are 140 meters or bigger since those objects could pose a significant threat and are easier to spot from a distance. The object was seen in ZTF images. As they fly across the sky, they leave streaks across the ZTF images, and every night an algorithm looks through about 100,000 pictures in search of those streaks.