Orbit diagram of asteroid 2017 AG13, which flew by Earth on January 9, 2017. It flew by the Earth at 7:47 a.m. EST, coming within about half of the distance from the Earth to the moon (around 100,000 miles) at its nearest point. This huge space rock passed our planet about 50% closer than the Moon, occurring in the US East coast sky.
Its relative velocity is 15,7km per second.
The hypothesis of what would have happened if the asteroid had hit Earth would imply the equivalent to the explosion of twelve Little Boys, the atomic bomb that was dropped on the city of Hiroshima back in 1945. The asteroid was first seen by University of Arizona's Catalina Sky Survey. "This is moving very quickly, very nearby to us", saidSlooh's Eric Feldman. 2017 AG13 had an unusually elliptical orbit, and it crosses the orbit of two planets Venus and Earth.
Roughly five new asteroids are being discovered every day.
As Business Insider notes, Purdue University's Impact Earth simulator predicts that an asteroid even on the larger side of 2017 AG13's range would've exploded about 10 miles above the surface, assuming it entered the atmosphere at a 45-degree angle. If it crashed from an about 10 miles' distance, it would have produced nothing more than a high sound.
This space rock is believed to be as wide as 34 meters (111 feet), according to astronomers at the Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts. NASA's Near Earth Object (NEO) Program estimates that about 38 similar close approaches will occur in the month of January. It was also found that the asteroid would get as close as 0.55 astronomical units (AU) to the Sun and as far as 1.36 AU, Space.com said.
Still, not knowing about near-Earth objects (NEO) until days before they fly close to the Earth is slightly concerning.
2017 AG3 was approximately big as the meteor that hit Chelyabinsk, Russia in 2013.
"They are the extinction-level events, things like dinosaur killers, they're 50 to 60 million years apart, essentially", Nuth said, according to the Daily Mail.
The recently released "National Near-Earth Object Preparedness Strategy" highlighted our unpreparedness to defend Earth against a threatening asteroid despite recent efforts by scientists and advocacy groups to galvanize governments into action.