The asteroid approaches RECORD closely on Friday 13th and NASA missed it | Science | news


A space rock known as 2020 VT4 took an extremely close approach to our planet on Friday the 13th, while the date is considered unfortunate for some, Earth was lucky this time. Observations showed that the asteroid flew close to our planet at a distance of only 250 miles (400 kilometers).

By comparison, the Moon averages 238,855 miles from Earth.

Astronomers missed the close approach of 2020 VT4, and the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) survey only spotted it as it was moving away from our planet.

This is because it came from the “blind spot” in astronomical terms, which is from the direction of the Sun.

Since it was so close to our planet, the astronomers claimed that the gravitational pull of the Earth changed the asteroid’s orbit.

Astronomer Tony Dunn said: “The newly discovered asteroid A10sHcN approached Earth yesterday, passing only a few hundred miles above the South Pacific Ocean.

“This encounter shortened its orbit, ensuring that this Earth cruiser will make more frequent approaches.”

The asteroid is only between five and 10 meters, so even if it collided with our planet, it would simply burn up in the atmosphere.

This is a record-breaking approach for an asteroid, beating the previous record set earlier this year.

READ MORE: Asteroid News: “Potentially DANGEROUS” Space Rock to Pass Earth

NASA said: “Near Earth (NEO) objects are comets and asteroids that have been pushed by the gravitational pull of nearby planets into orbits that allow them to enter the Earth’s neighborhood.

“The scientific interest in comets and asteroids is largely due to their status as relatively unchanged debris from the solar system’s formation process some 4.6 billion years ago.

“The giant outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune) were formed from an agglomeration of billions of comets and the leftovers of this formation process are the comets we see today.

“Similarly, today’s asteroids are the leftover pieces from the initial agglomeration of the inner planets that include Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars.”

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