Skip to comments.SURPRISE ASTEROID FLYBY
Posted on 04/15/2018 5:30:02 PM PDT by MarchonDC09122009
SURPRISE ASTEROID FLYBY: With little warning, a relatively large asteroid flew through the Earth-Moon system on April 15th only 192,200 km (0.5 LD) from our planet. 2018 GE3 was discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey approaching Earth on April 14th. Hours later, amateur astronomer Michael Jäger of Weißenkirchen Austria video-recorded the space rock rushing through the southern constellation Serpens:
"According to wikipedia, 2018 GE3 is the largest known asteroid to pass that close to Earth in observational history," says Jäger. "It was shining like a 13th magnitude star at the time of my observations."
Based on the intensity of its reflected sunlight, 2018 GE3 must be 48 to 110 meters wide, according to NASA-JPL. This puts it into the same class as the 60-meter Tunguska impactor that leveled a forest in Siberia in 1908. A more recent point of comparison is the Chelyabinsk meteor--a ~20-meter asteroid that exploded in the atmosphere over Russia on Feb. 15, 2013, shattering windows and toppling onlookers as a fireball brighter than the sun blossomed in the blue morning Ural sky. 2018 GE3 could be 5 to 6 times wider than that object.
If 2018 GE3 had hit Earth, it would have caused regional, not global, damage, and might have disintegrated in the atmosphere before reaching the ground. Nevertheless, it is a significant asteroid, illustrating how even large space rocks can still take us by surprise. 2018 GE3 was found less than a day before before its closest approach.
Based on an observational arc of only 1 day, 2018 GE3 appears to follow an elliptical orbit which stretches from the asteroid belt to deep inside the inner solar system. Every ~2.5 years the space rock crosses the orbits of Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars--although not necessarily making close approaches to the planets themselves. An interactive 3D orbit of the asteroid is available from JPL: explore it here!
Hit us. We’re full of gas.
does “observable history” mean the history of asteroid observation or just all of history?
” ...observational history,...”
And being as bright as 13th magnitude means it was literally as bright as Pluto...
Just to keep us on our toes.
13th Magnitude? Not seeable without a lot of magnitude power devices.
Serpens? It might have taken out Argentina near the Antarctica land mass but not much else.
Oh, better luck next time.
The Russian meteor that exploded in the air in 2013 was only 20 meters, and caused damage over a city.
Yeah but what I picked up on is this asteroid was larger than Tunguska and we have all seen the damage that one caused. That one occurred over a desolate area but if one of that size were to explode above a city it would be like a small nuke absent the radioactivity.
Whatever happened to that Chinese space station?
“That’s a negative, Ghostrider, the pattern is full.”
Splashdown between Tahiti and South America.
Went into the Pacific not close to Easter Island.
SMOD (sweet meteor of death) missed us again?? We need a bigger gravity pull....
Rusty: Hey, ya’ got Pac Man?
Cousin Dale: No.
Rusty: Ya’ got Space Invaders?
Cousin Dale: Nope.
Rusty: Ya’ got Asteroids?
Cousin Dale: Naw, but my dad does. Can’t even sit on the toilet some days.
It re-entered off the coast of Chile on April 1.
They don’t really have the orbital parameters nailed down yet. According to JPL the uncertainty of the semi-major axis is 232,000 miles. And it missed us by 119,000 miles. Not comforting.
I just hope it’s not traveling in a group.
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