Space rock gives Earth a close shave

Mar 03, 2009
A meteor streaks diagonally across the sky against a field of star trails behind one of the peaks of the Seven Sisters rock formation in the Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. An asteroid of a similar size to a rock that exploded above Siberia in 1908 with the force of a thousand atomic bombs whizzed close past Earth on Monday.

An asteroid of a similar size to a rock that exploded above Siberia in 1908 with the force of a thousand atomic bombs whizzed close past Earth on Monday, astronomers said on Tuesday.

2009 DD45, estimated to be between 21 and 47 meters (68 and 152 feet) across, raced by at 1344 GMT on Monday, the Planetary Society and astronomers' blogs reported.

The gap was just 72,000 kilometers (44,750 miles), or a fifth of the distance between Earth and the Moon and only twice the height of satellites in geosynchronous orbit, the website space.com said.

The estimated size is similar to that of an asteroid or comet that exploded above Tunguska, Siberia, on June 30 1908, flattening 80 million trees in a swathe of more than 2,000 square kilometres (800 square miles).

2009 DD45 was spotted last Saturday by astronomers at the Siding Spring Survey in Australia, and was verified by the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Centre (MPC), which catalogues Solar System rocks.

The closest flyby listed by the MPC is 2004 FU162, a small asteroid about six metres (20 feet) across which came within about 6,500 kms (4,000 miles) of us in March 2004.

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: NASA's Europa mission begins with selection of science instruments

Related Stories

Video: Kepler observes Neptune dance with its moons

May 15, 2015

NASA's Kepler spacecraft, known for its planet-hunting prowess of other stars, is also studying solar system objects. In its new K2 mission, Neptune and two of its moons, Triton and Nereid, have been imaged. ...

Robotically discovering Earth's nearest neighbors

Apr 28, 2015

A team of astronomers using ground-based telescopes in Hawaii, California, and Arizona recently discovered a planetary system orbiting a nearby star that is only 54 light-years away. All three planets orbit ...

Recommended for you

Image: Europa's Jupiter-facing hemisphere

6 hours ago

This 12-frame mosaic provides the highest resolution view ever obtained of the side of Jupiter's moon Europa that faces the giant planet. It was obtained on Nov. 25, 1999 by the camera onboard the Galileo ...

SpaceX cleared for US military launches

7 hours ago

The US Air Force has certified private company SpaceX to launch military satellites, opening the doors to a lucrative market previously held solely by a Lockheed and Boeing joint venture.

User comments : 6

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Modernmystic
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 03, 2009
Time to bump up the number of people looking over that of a McDonalds yet?

Wait, I forgot, that would be a valid use of taxpayer dollars. We couldn't get NASA to sign off on that...
FainAvis
not rated yet Mar 03, 2009
Will it be back?
AMMBD
1 / 5 (1) Mar 03, 2009
shave & a hair cut. wonder if it'll be back & when?
Modernmystic
5 / 5 (1) Mar 03, 2009
shave & a hair cut. wonder if it'll be back & when?


Well we sure as hell won't know if we leave NASA to do the job, we only got a three day warning this time.

Maybe next time there won't be a warning and all well get to do is feel a little heat and see a big bright light....
derricka
1 / 5 (1) Mar 03, 2009
Two days notice, and no one seems to have a photo of this rock?
You would think they could have spun Hubble around for a quick snap, or a least have a ground based photo from an observatory by now? Seems like an opportunity wasted, however brief.
vanderMerwe
5 / 5 (2) Mar 04, 2009
"Two days notice, and no one seems to have a photo of this rock?"

There's photos and what passes for a youtube clip of it...

http://planetary....rth.html

http://www.youtub...KgMDK7A4

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.