A reasonably small 4-8 m (~13-26 foot) asteroid recently flew by Earth, passing close to satellites orbiting in the geostationary ring at a distance of about 42,735 km (~26,554 miles) from Earth’s center and only about 1200 km (~750 miles) from the nearest satellite.
After the initial discovery, observers around the world rapidly set their eyes on the ‘new’ space rock, determining it would safely pass our planet in one of the closest flybys ever recorded.
While the asteroid, now named 2020 HS7, came close to the geostationary ring, it passed ‘under’ the nearest satellite and posed no major risk as their orbits did not intersect.
UFO spotted in Hawaii
On the evening of April 27 (European time), NASA’s Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) in Hawaii reported observations of a new asteroid, temporarily labeled P20ZIf8.
The night before, one of the Pan-STARRS survey telescopes had spotted an unidentified object flying through space. Less than an hour of observations showed that this object was already extremely close to Earth, with a roughly 10% probability of collision the following day.
Rapid global response deems asteroid small and safe
Observers around the world quickly joined the effort to find out more about this unknown asteroid. Only 50 minutes after the initial Pan-STARRS report was released, the Xingming Observatory in China obtained the first follow-up ‘astrometry’ — data on its position, motion, and brightness.
Soon after, the Tautenburg observatory in Germany – a frequent collaborator with ESA’s Near-Earth Object Coordination Center, part of the Planetary Defence Office – monitored the space rock, after the Agency alerted them to it and asked for immediate observations.
Read more: scitech daily