A newly discovered car-sized asteroid just made the closest-known flyby to Earth without hitting our planet … And even took NASA by surprise

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Asteroid makes closest flyby of Earth on record – and Nasa didn't see it coming
Asteroid makes closest flyby of Earth on record – and Nasa didn’t see it coming. Picture: Head Topics

On Sunday, August 16, 2020, the asteroid, initially labeled ZTF0DxQ and now formally known to astronomers as 2020 QG, swooped by Earth at a mere 1,830 miles (2,950 kilometers) away.

That gives 2020 QG the title of closest asteroid flyby ever recorded that didn’t end with the space rock’s demise. It’s the closest known, non-impacting asteroid, said NASA officials in the below video.

The close flyby was also a fast one, as 2020 QG swooped near Earth at a blistering 27,600 mph (44,400 kph). The object is about the size of a compact car, perhaps about 10 to 20 feet (3 to 6 meters) in diameter. 

According to the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center, 2020 QG flew over the Pacific Ocean, far east of Australia, during its close approach.

To explore the daredevil asteroid for yourself, you can check out NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s small-body database browser here

Asteroid 2020 QG came closer to Earth than any non-impacting asteroid on record
Asteroid 2020 QG came closer to Earth than any non-impacting asteroid on record. Picture: Zwicky Transient Facility

The flyby wasn’t expected and took many by surprise. In fact, the Palomar Observatory didn’t detect the zooming asteroid until about six hours after the object’s closest approach.

The asteroid approached undetected from the direction of the sun. We didn’t see it coming. Yesterday’s close approach is [the] closest on record. If you discount a few known asteroids that have actually impacted our planet,” said Paul Chodas, the director of NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies.

Well, the next question is when such an unexpected flyby will crash on Earth? There are a few months left in this surprising 2020…

More asteroid news on Strange Sounds and Steve Quayle. [Sun, Live Science]

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2 COMMENTS

  1. This is God Warning if we do not change our habits and accept
    one human family. Next ones will hit planet without any warnings.
    When we mess with God in many ways . We change girl to Boy or vice versa, when we use of high tech for wars and make atom bombs, Of course we already seen destruction of planet earth by Fires, Quakes, and Fe mine and AI and robots and much more yet to come such as Bolides i call it is from other galaxy’s beyond ours.

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