Asteroid size of football pitch zooms past Earth without being noticed by astronomers

An asteroid zoomed past Earth on Thursday last week, startling astronomers who didn’t pick the rock’s trajectory until days before it passed the planet.

The asteroid now dubbed as Asteroid 2019 OK, passed within 43,500 miles of Earth traveling at a speed of 15 miles a second.

The asteroid was estimated to be between 187 feet and 427 feet in diameter, was discovered by two astronomy teams in Brazil and the US. It’s the largest rock to pass by Earth this year and most probably the largest this decade.

Astronomers generally track asteroids further in advance, but this one was difficult to pick up because it was traveling from the direction of the sun.

While the rocks size may seem small, which is the size of a football field but its impact could’ve been disastrous.

Alan Duffy of Swinburne University astronomy said, “It would have hit with over 30 times the energy of the atomic blast at Hiroshima. It’s a city-killer asteroid. But because it’s so small, it’s incredibly hard to see until right at the last minute.”

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