An asteroid the size of the bus flew past the Earth a few days ago entering well inside the Moon’s orbit which average distance from earth is 284.000 kilometers, according to Space. The asteroid known as 2017 SX17 is eight meters wide and it has passed nearby the Earth at only 87,065 km from its surface at 10.20 GMT or 6:20 a.m.
At the time of its closest approach, the asteroid was traveling at about 16,350 miles per hour or 26,310 km/h relative to Earth, the Center for NEO Studies researchers reported. Speaking of which, the Center for NEO (Near-Earth Object) Studies is based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
First spotted on September 24, 2017, the asteroid was already observed and studied by several telescopes including the Steward Observatory and Mt Lemmon Survey in Arizona. The other ones that joined the campaign were the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System at Haleakala Observatory in Hawaii.
Thanks to such observations, the scientists concluded that 2017 SX17 laps around the sun every 467 Earth days. Meanwhile, the Earth is getting ready for another flyby, by an asteroid set to fly past our planet on October 12. This one, 2012 TC4 is going to come within just 43,500 km or 27,000 miles of Earth’s surface. Unlike the one that has just passed, 2012 TC4 is 12 to 27 meters wide.
The astronomers keep their eyes open for potential threats that come from space. Luckily, 2012 TC4 that was discovered five years ago as its name suggests is not a threat to Earth until at least 2050, when things could get complicated.
If you are afraid that one of the asteroids might hit our plant, we should probably tell you that about 17,000 near-Earth asteroids have been discovered so far. And this is just a fraction because millions lurk outside in the depths of cosmos.