LOOK: A House-Sized Asteroid Just Brushed Past Our Earth
An uninvited guest came to visit during the Halloween. A house-sized asteroid swept past the earth on Nov. 1, just hours after it was first detected by the Mount Lemmon Sky Survey based outside of Tucson Arizona, Space.com reported.
As per Universe Today, the 16-19 meter asteroid dubbed as 2016 VA passed just 58,600 miles (93,700 kilometers) from the surface of the Earth on the aforementioned date at 00:42 Universal Time (UT). To make the distance a little more imaginable, the report added that the 2016 VA's proximity is a little over 20 percent of the distance from the Earth to the Moon, and just over twice the distance to the ring of geosynchronous and geostationary satellites around the Earth.
Asteroids, according to NASA are relatively small, inactive, rocky bodies orbiting the Sun. Earth is barraged with more than 100 tons of rocky particles every day and at least once a year, an automobile-sized asteroid hits Earth's atmosphere.
"Asteroids coming this close (or even closer) are found from time to time by the automated surveys looking for near-Earth objects," Gianluca Masi, Director of the Virtual Telescope Project, told New Atlas. "So far this year, we had about 50 asteroids come closer than the Moon."
Asteroid passing the Earth is not uncommon, but what makes 2016 VA rather interesting is that 2016 VA was also eclipsed by the Earth's shadow.
The Virtual Telescope Project captured in photos and created an animation of the moment it eclipsed by the Earth. The animation showed the spectacular penumbra effects with each frame coming from a 5-seconds integration.
The photos were taken using Virtual Telescope's "Elena" (PlaneWave 17″+Paramount ME+SBIG STL-6303E robotic unit, under 60-seconds exposure.
"The Paramount ME robotic mount tracked using the ephemerides retrieved via the JPL's Horizon webserver. At the imaging time, asteroid 2016 VA was at about 200.000 km from us and approaching. Its diameter should be around 15 meters or so," Masi explained.