A surprise asteroid came "relatively" close to the Earth today

Astronomers Say an Asteroid Snuck Up on Us and Almost Hit Earth Yesterday

"According to Wikipedia, 2018 GE3 is the largest known asteroid to pass that close to Earth in observational history", Jäger said, according to NASA Spaceweather.

With just a few hours' notice, a relatively large asteroid whipped through the Earth-moon orbit over the weekend. Congress tasked NASA with tracking all objects bigger than 460 feet wide, which 2018 GE3 falls shy of, but NASA has only been able to identify about one-third of the estimated total so far. The estimated diameter of the space rock ranged from 131 to 328 feet, CNEOS reports.

The asteroid was first observed by the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey project, based at the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Lab in Tucson, Time magazine reported. Austrian amateur astronomer Michael Jäger recorded the object as it passed through the southern constellations Serprens. The moon, by comparison, is roughly 238,900 miles from Earth. A more recent point of comparison is the Chelyabinsk meteor-a ~20-meter asteroid that exploded in the atmosphere over Russian Federation on February 15, 2013, shattering windows and toppling onlookers as a fireball brighter than the sun blossomed in the blue morning Ural sky.

If 2018 GE3 had hit Earth, it would have caused regional, not global, damage, and might have disintegrated in the atmosphere before reaching the ground.

"It doesn't take a very large object".

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EarthSky.org said a preliminary analysis of the asteroid's orbit showed this was the closest 2018 GE has come to Earth since at least 1930.

The April asteroid, however, traveling at a speed of about 66,000 miles per hour, would have likely broken down "due to friction with the air" as soon as it entered Earth's atmosphere, EarthSky reported.

Wikipedia and other sources are now reporting that this is the largest asteroid to ever pass this close to Earth.

That's significantly smaller than the 2018 GE3 asteroid. Every ~ 2.5 years the area rock crosses the orbits of Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars- although not always making close techniques to the worlds themselves.

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