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Asteroid alert: 6-meter rock passed by Earth in a very close approach
When asteroids pass by, they often get as close as millions of miles away from Earth, which is still extremely far by our standards, but it is close enough to be picked up on. An asteroid that recently passed by Earth got a lot closer to the planet than the Moon itself.
NASA picked up an asteroid that was hurtling towards our planet in a very close approach. The asteroid is referred to as 2020 TS1 and is classified as a Near-Earth Object or NEO by the agency. The asteroid was traveling through space at a speed of 4.2 kilometers per second or 15,000 kilometers per hour as it approached Earth. That may seem fast but it is actually very slow in astronomical standards.
TS1 posed no threat to Earth and there was no chance of a collision as well. It also happens that TS1 measures six meters in diameter, making it a relatively small asteroid. Should it even collide with Earth, there is a chance it would burn up when it meets the atmosphere or, if it was slightly bigger, only inflict local impact, but not on a global scale. Massive asteroids, like the asteroid that triggered the extinction of the dinosaurs millions of years ago, are those that can bring on damage on a global scale.
Asteroids classified as Near-Earth Objects are usually the leftover debris coming from the Sun when it was being formed or the planets that surround the star.
Over the weekend, residents from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, Luxembourg, and Belgium were able to witness a fireball passing through the skies. Over 100 people reported the incident to the International Meteor Organization, having seen a bright streak pass through the night sky, coming from the atmosphere over the Bay of Biscay and disappearing to the West of the French coast.
One witness shared that the fireball they saw was larger and brighter than what they have seen before. Fireballs, when passing through the skies, usually come apart and disintegrate before it reaches the surface. These fireballs are small meteors that come into contact with the atmosphere, with the air seeping into the cracks of the rock, making it explode.