A meteorite leaves a contrail over Chelyabinsk.
(Photo: Yekaterina Pustynnikova, AP)

Asteroids are airless rocky-metallic bodies that revolve around the sun and too small to be called planets. Hence, they are sometimes termed as “planetoids”.

Recently, on a fine Monday evening, a huge asteroid rushed past the Earth at an average velocity of 27,000 miles per hour(43,000 kilometers per hour). Its size was estimated to be as large as three football fields.

The proximity of this particular asteroid was no more than 2 million miles(3.4 million kilometers). Thus missing the Earth by 2 million miles, it was not considered a potential threat and was not even visible to the naked eye.

It had been a year and two days since last asteroid had struck the Earth at Chelyabinsk, Russia. It had caused a mass destruction, annihilating thousands of buildings across a wide area of about 65 feet. The implications were huge.

This particular asteroid that whizzed by the Earth just recently was a hard rock approximately 885 feet in diameter, & named as “2000 EM26”. It had been discovered earlier in 2000.


A meteorite contrail flashes over a highway from Kostanai, Kazakhstan, to Russia’s Chelyabinsk region.(Photo: AP)

It was streamed live via Dubai by the astronomy team of Slooh. The images were taken via telescope installed at Dubai, and were streamed live at Slooh’s astronomy website. To the disappointment of spectators, the images taken showed nothing more than stars filling the dead of a night. Apparently, the asteroid was indiscernible.

According to the technical director of Slooh, Patrick Paolucci, the technical team spent the night reviewing the images taken earlier but was not able to extract details from them.

An astronomer at Slooh, Bob Berman, claimed that they knew that the asteroid would appear a little fainter than Pluto, beforehand.

Some spectators grudged on Twitter that the images were not so exciting; they expecting a Hollywood movie scene perhaps. Obviously, “unexciting” is a good omen, experts would reckon. Having an asteroid strike the Earth while being exciting, would most certainly have perilous consequences.


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