The same astronomer who discovered an asteroid two hours before impact, has discovered another asteroid just hours before it came extremely close to striking the Earth.
A very dangerous thing has happened yet again! The same astronomer who last week discovered 2022 EB5 hours before it actually hit the Earth near western Greenland coast, has discovered yet another scary asteroid. Thankfully, asteroid strike on Earth was averted this time as it flew past our planet, but not before coming dagerously close to Earth. On the night of March 25, Hungarian astronomer Krisztian Sarneczky found a new asteroid while stargazing. The asteroid was discovered merely hours before it flew horrifyingly close to Earth. The distance between this asteroid and Earth was merely 8,700 km! That is even less than the distance between GPS satellites up in the sky and Earth. The asteroid was briefly nicknamed SAR2594 by the astronomer, but has been labeled as 2022 FD1 for organized astronomical classification.
Sarneczky took it to Twitter to announce his discovery. In a post, he wrote, “Almost. Again 🙂 My newly discovered asteroid #Sar2594 will pass cca. 15,100 km from Earth around 09:10 UT. Minus Earth radius = 8,700 km above the surface. Almost”. The astronomer who goes by ‘asteroid hunter’ on the micro-blogging website has been prolific in recent times in discovering these celestial objects. He also accurately calculated that asteroid 2022 FD1 was going to pass through the Earth’s shadow before any major space observatories.
Asteroid comes dangerously close to hitting the Earth
Even as the moment is quite special to the astronomer, it should not be forgotten that if the asteroid made an impact, it could have easily spelled disaster for many. While the size of the asteroid was not large at 2-4 meters, it was traveling at an extremely high speed of 40,265 miles an hour. For reference, it is almost 40 times the speed of sound. At such a speed, even an asteroid strike to the surface of the Earth was improbable, it could have caused a sonic blast and resulted in large damage in an urban setting. The scariest part is that if it was not for Sárneczky, the asteroid might have gone unnoticed entirely.
And these fears are not without merit. The astronomer also tweeted that the asteroid changed its inclination as it crossed the Earth due to our planet’s gravitational force. If it deviated any more, it could have even hit the Earth. Interestingly, asteroid 2022 FD1 has been registered as the 13th closest approach of a near-Earth object (NEO), that has not made an impact, in the NASA database. That means there are only 12 other asteroids which have ever come closer to Earth and not caused an asteroid strike to Earth.