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: India launches biggest ever rocket into space

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Brazil: Google fined in Petrobras probe

1 hour ago

A Brazilian court says it has fined Google around $200,000 for refusing to intercept emails needed in a corruption investigation at state-run oil company Petrobras.

Atari's 'E.T.' game joins Smithsonian collection

1 hour ago

One of the "E.T." Atari game cartridges unearthed this year from a heap of garbage buried deep in the New Mexico desert has been added to the video game history collection at the Smithsonian.

Sony threatens to sue for publishing stolen emails

1 hour ago

A lawyer representing Sony Pictures Entertainment is warning news organizations not to publish details of company files leaked by hackers in one of the largest digital breaches ever against an American company.

Microsoft builds support over Ireland email case

1 hour ago

Microsoft said Monday it had secured broad support from a coalition of influential technology and media firms as it seeks to challenge a US ruling ordering it to hand over emails stored on a server in Ireland.

Recommended for you

Politics no problem, say US and Russian spacefarers

15 hours ago

US-Russian ties may have returned to Cold War levels, but an astronaut and a cosmonaut gearing up for the longest flight on the International Space Station said Thursday politics would not disrupt their work ...

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.