- Planetary Defenses MISSED Asteroid Flyby That Came Within 400km of Earth on Friday 13th
A disturbing new record for the closest asteroid flyby of the Earth has been set, after a space rock named 2020 VT4 came within 400 kilometers (250 miles) of the planet on Friday the 13th. And our planetary defenses missed it.
The asteroid was spotted by the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) survey at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii some 15 hours after it made its close approach from our sun-facing blind spot.
Estimated to measure between five and 10 meters (16-32 feet) in diameter (about 5.5 refrigerators stacked on top of one another), 2020 VT4 made its closest approach at 17:20 Universal Time (UT) on Friday November 13 over the South Pacific, near the Pitcairn Islands.
Newly-discovered asteroid A10sHcN approached Earth yesterday, passing only a few hundred miles above the South Pacific Ocean. This encounter shortened its orbit, ensuring that this Earth-crosser will make more frequent close approaches.https://t.co/TmkzojIzPf pic.twitter.com/XrnKiiGTyJ
— Tony Dunn (@tony873004) November 14, 2020