An asteroid estimated to be at least 150 feet in diameter made an alarmingly close passage to Earth on Sunday morning, just hours after it was first observed by astronomers.
The asteroid, called Asteroid 2018 GE3, was the closest to Earth at about 2.41 a.m. ET on April 15 when it was detected at 119,500 miles away, reports EarthSky.org. That is closer than the moon, which orbits the Earth at an average distance of 238,900 miles. GE3 also passed close to the moon later that morning on his journey around the sun.
According to EarthSky.org, the 2018 GE3 Asteroid could be as much as six times larger than the Chelyabinsk meteorite, which exploded in central Russia in 2013. When the rock hit the atmosphere it caused a bright flash, and thousands of fragments They fell across the Chelyabinsk region, breaking windows and injuring some 1,500 people. If GE3 had entered Earth's atmosphere it could have caused similar, if not more severe, damage.
The asteroid was first observed by the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey project, based at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona.