Science

An asteroid grazed Earth, passing 2,900 km from our planet

An asteroid grazed Earth
Written by Alan Ficher

Asteroid ZTF0DxQ – officially labeled 2020 QG – now holds the record for the closest flyby of Earth. It swept just 2,000 miles (3,000 km) from Earth’s surface, or about a quarter of the diameter of Earth itself.

This illustration shows asteroid 2020 QG’s trajectory bending during its close approach to Earth. The asteroid is the closest known nonimpacting asteroid ever detected. Image via NASA

This asteroid, which moves at a speed of 12.4 kilometers per second, was identified 6 hours after its passage. “The asteroid approached undetected from the direction of the Sun,” Paul Chodas, director of NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies, told Business Insider .

This celestial object about 3 m wide was spotted during a survey of the sky carried out by the Palomar Observatory in California. When 2020 HQ passed close to Earth, it was 132 times closer to us than the Moon .

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Alan Ficher

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