Did a refrigerator-sized asteroid slip past Earth undetected?

WION Web Team
London Published: Nov 03, 2021, 05:42 PM(IST)

NASA will deliberately collide a spacecraft into an asteroid (representative image). Photograph:( AFP )

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An asteroid about the size of a refrigerator had moved past Earth last week, and the astronomers seem to have completely missed its until hours after it was gone. From a cosmic perspective, it was a close call. It was the third-closest asteroid to approach the planet without actually hitting it

An asteroid about the size of a refrigerator had moved past Earth last week. The astronomers seem to have completely missed its until hours after it was gone.  

From a cosmic perspective, it was a close call. According to the space rock's trajectory, it was the third-closest asteroid to approach the planet without actually hitting it, reported CNET.   

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On October 24, it was within 1,800 miles (3,000 kilometers) from Earth, even closer than some satellites.  

Unaware of the object, scientists dubbed it as Asteroid 2021 UA1 as it approached Earth's daytime side from the direction of the Sun. So, the comparatively small asteroid went undetected until about four hours after passing by at its closest point, according to CNET.  

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As UA1 had a diameter of just 6.6 feet (2 meters), it was too small to pose a threat.   

If it had struck Earth, most of its body would have burnt away while entering our atmosphere before it could have hit the ground, added the report.  

According to NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, asteroids and comets that orbit within our cosmic neighbourhood are known as near-Earth objects.  

(With inputs from agencies) 

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