An asteroid the size of a football field skimmed Earth on Saturday, and no one knew that it was coming until after it had passed. It was bigger than the meteor that exploded over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk five years ago.

It came between the Earth and the moon.

Closer Than The Moon

Asteroid 2018 GE3 was seen on Saturday, April 14, from the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona. The asteroid made its closest approach to Earth at 2:41 a.m. eastern time. It came at a distance of 119,400 miles (192,000 kilometers) from Earth. To keep that in perspective, the moon is 238,900 miles (385,000 kilometers) away from Earth.

The asteroid was first observed by the Catalina Sky Survey at the early hours of Saturday. In less than 24 hours, the asteroid passed by Earth.

Asteroid 2018 GE3 is measured between 155 and 330 feet (48 to 100 meters) across. That would make it five times bigger than the Chelyabinsk meteor that hit Russia five years ago. That blast injured more than 1,200 people and damaged thousands of buildings that were up to 58 miles (93 kilometers) away from where it broke up.

SpaceWeather says that if asteroid 2018 GE3 had hit Earth, it would have caused regional and not global damage. It also concludes that the asteroid may have also broken up in the atmosphere before it hit the ground on Earth. It calls the asteroid a significant one that took Earth by surprise.

Tunguska Event

The Tunguska event occurred on June 30, 1908, in a remote forest in Siberia. Not much is known about the cause of the event, but it is believed that a comet or asteroid 164 to 330 feet (50 to 100 meters) in diameter caused the explosion. It flattened 80 million trees in the forest.

The nearest town was over 35 miles (60 kilometers) away. Windows were smashed by the explosion. They were also said to have felt the heat that was radiating from the area when the explosion occurred.

There were no casualties as a result of the explosion. There was a report that a deer herder died when he was pushed into a tree from the blast. Found at the explosion were also hundreds of charred reindeer carcasses.

It produced 185 times more energy than the atomic bomb explosion in Hiroshima. There were also seismic rumbles felt as far as the UK.

Scientists are still not sure what happened that day in Tunguska. There was no evidence left behind to determine what was the cause of the explosion. No scientists explored the region until almost 20 years later. This was due to the remoteness of the site and the problems that Russia was facing at the time that this occurred.

ⓒ 2021 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.