An asteroid was about to impact the Earth last Friday, November 13, when it passed almost 400 kilometers from the South Pacific.
The space rock, named 2020 VT4, was detected by the Asteroid Earth Impact Last Warning System (Atlas) at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, according to the Universe Today portal.
“Asteroid-2020 VT4 is estimated to be between 5 and 10 meters wide, about the size of a small house,” reported the outlet.
In addition, it was recorded that this comes to break a new record, since it corresponds “to the passage of a documented non-meteoric asteroid closer to Earth”.
What would have happened if it touched Earth?
Universe Today noted that “if it had hit Earth, 2020 VT4 would just have put on a good show and maybe left a field strewn with meteorites in its wake.”
It was further stated that “no satellite (including the ISS, which was over the South Atlantic at the time) was affected by the passage of VT4 2020, although it certainly traversed the sphere of geostationary satellites and skimmed the low Earth orbit ring “.
This asteroid brushed the top of Earth's atmosphere, then skipped out again, on Friday the 13th.
Read more: https://t.co/bn1aswheCj
Astronomers in Hawaii detected it a day later. It passed 238 mi (383 km) above Earth's surface.
Can someone say "close one?" pic.twitter.com/LimyxQbCwp
— EarthSky (@earthskyscience) November 17, 2020
Other asteroids that passed near our planet
Among other asteroids that passed close to the surface of the Earth and that previously held a record are:
- Asteroid 2020 QG: It passed 3,000 kilometers from the planet’s surface on August 16.
- The asteroid 2008 TC3: It was the first that was documented before and after its impact (fragments were recovered).