(ORDO NEWS) — On Sunday, an asteroid the size of a car flew just 2,950 kilometers from Earth.
It is actually the closest flyby of an asteroid ever recorded, according to asteroid trackers and a catalog compiled by the Sormano Astronomical Observatory in Italy.
Because of its size, the space rock would most likely not pose any danger to people on earth if it fell on our planet. But, nevertheless, this call is troubling, since astronomers did not know that the asteroid existed until it flew by.
“The asteroid approached unnoticed by the sun,” Paul Chodas, director of NASA‘s Center for Near Earth Objects, told Business Insider.
“We didn’t expect this.”
The Palomar Observatory in California first discovered the space rock about six hours after it flew over Earth.
Chodas confirmed the record nature of this event: “Yesterday’s rendezvous is the closest recorded, if you do not take into account several known asteroids that actually fell on our planet,” he said.
NASA is only aware of a few near-Earth objects. Many of them do not cross the line of sight of the telescope, and in recent years, scientists have registered several potentially dangerous asteroids.
The asteroid was originally named ZTF0DxQ, but now officially named 2020 QG, it flew at a speed of about 12.4 kilometers per second or 44,000 km / h.
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