Press "Enter" to skip to content

Huge Asteroid hiding behind the Sun Snuck up on Earth

On Sunday, a sly space rock zipped through Antarctica without notice, narrowly avoiding being entirely destroyed by Earth’s atmosphere. Asteroid 2021 UA1 is the third-closest near-Earth object to travel by our planet without colliding with it. The cosmic boulder is predicted to be two metres (6.6 feet) in diameter, around the same size as a large appliance or a golf cart. The great majority of it would almost definitely have burned up in the atmosphere if it had really impacted our planet.

For perspective, the bolide that erupted over Russia in 2013, knocking out thousands of windows in the city of Chelyabinsk, was at least 20 times larger, and only a small rock survived to reach the surface. Instead, on Sunday evening Pacific time, 2021 UA1 flew over Antarctica at an altitude of nearly 1,800 miles. This is higher than the International Space Station’s orbit, but far closer than the ring of massive geostationary communications satellites.

In August 2020, Asteroid 2020 QG came a little closer, but the closest approach ever recorded in which the escaped uninjured was last November, when 2020 VT4 soared past at a distance of little over a mile. The 2021 UA bolide approached us from the sun’s direction, similar to the undiscovered Chelyabinsk bolide, making it impossible for astronomers to see before of time. Future missions, such as NASA‘s NEO Surveyor, are intended to close this gap.

The fact that the three closest passes ever observed have occurred within the last 18 months isn’t cause for alarm. It’s not that Asteroid are swarming Earth; rather, it’s a result of advances in sky surveying technology and astronomers’ ability to see and track more near-Earth objects. More well-known Asteroid, on the other hand, should make it simpler for us to sleep at night.

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *