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Asteroid passes just 8,700miles from Earth – with only 15 hours warning

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Claire Bates
UK Daily Mail
Wednesday, Nov 11th, 2009

Although no one noticed at the time, the Earth was almost hit by an asteroid last Friday.

The previously undiscovered asteroid came within 8,700miles of Earth but astronomers noticed it only 15 hours before it made its closest approach.

Its orbit brought it 30 times nearer than the Moon, which is 250,000 miles away.

But before you head for the nuclear bunkers you will be relieved to learn the tumbling rock was only 23ft across. Similar sized objects pass by this close to Earth about twice a year and impact on the planet about once every five years.

Astronomers believe the object, called 2009 VA, would have almost completely burned up while entering Earth’s atmosphere, causing a brilliant fireball in the sky but no major damage to the surface.

The asteroid was discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey on November 6, 2009. It was then identified by the Minor Planet Centre in Cambridge, Massachusetts as a near Earth object.

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Asteroid passes just 8,700miles from Earth   with only 15 hours warning  FOTR 340x1692 

This article was posted: Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 4:41 am





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