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More asteroids skim past Earth


March 09, 2013
Saturday PM

(SitNews) - Moving at 26,000 miles per hour, a giant space rock as big as a city block shot relatively close by the Earth earlier Saturday. This was the latest in a series of visiting celestial objects including an asteroid the size of a bus that exploded over Russia last month, injuring 1,500.

Discovered just six days ago, the 460-foot long Asteroid 2013 ET posed little threat as it passed about 600,000 miles from Earth at 11:30 a.m. AST. The enormous piece of space debris passed just 2.5 lunar distances from planet Earth.

Some astronomers have compared its size to that of a city block, others a football pitch. Its dimensions were widely given as 460 feet long and 210 feet wide. A professional American football field is 360 feet by 160 feet, which would make this asteroid 100 feet longer than a football field, and 50 feet wider, should it live up to the projected calculations.

Asteroid 2013 ET was first detected on March 3 by the Catalina Sky Survey based at the University of Arizona, and approached the planet less than a week after it first hit astronomers’ radars. If the asteroid had hit earth, it could have destroyed a small city.

It was not be quite bright enough to view through standard personal binoculars or small ‘backyard’ telescopes, but was visible using larger, professional devices in observatorie.

This asteroid was the second in one day, and the third this week. Earlier on Saturday, at 5:57 a.m. Moscow time (09:57 GMT), a smaller asteroid passed even closer to Earth. The 2013 EC20, between 9 and 40 feet, came within some 106,000 miles – even closer than the moon. The asteroid on Monday’s, named 2013 EC, flew within 230,000 miles of the planet. Its range fell just inside the moon’s orbit. It was also smaller, at 33 feet wide.

On Sunday, Asteroid 2013 EN 20 will fly about 279,000 miles from Earth. Both were discovered just three days ago.

Earthlings have been especially excited about space bodies as of late, after the planet was hit by a huge meteorite last month. The meteorite that smashed into the Russian city of Chelyabinsk on February 15 was the largest object to enter the Earth’s atmosphere in nearly a century. On the same day it struck, another 164 feet wide space rock, named 2012 DA14, brushed the planet, closer than any other in known history.


Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews


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