On Thursday early morning, Earth had yet another close encounter with a giant asteroid. Yes, you read it right. Well, we were fortunate that the space rock named ‘2019 OK’ did not collide with Earth and just went past through our planet. A 328-feet-wide asteroid 2019 OK zoom past the Earth on 6:52 am (IST) at a speed of nearly 55,000 miles (88,500 kilometres) per hour. The closest asteroid 2019 OK came to Earth was just under 45,000 miles (72,500 km). Well, you can say it was a safe distance, but still much less than the distance between the Earth and Moon. Asteroids are small, rocky objects that orbit the Sun. Although asteroids orbit the Sun like planets, they are much smaller than planets. You must be aware that asteroids, if hit Earth, can bring massive destruction to our planet and also to human life. The effects of an asteroid strike—tsunamis, shock waves, and flattening winds, could be catastrophic. Asteroids can approach towards the Earth due to the gravitational forces that affect them. Therefore, our fortune can be turned into misfortune anytime. But for now, we are safe.
Coming back to asteroid 2019 OK, astronomers at SONEAR Observatory had noticed the space rock within the past few days. As it’s a fresh discovery, the astronomers don’t have much information about its orbit to its size.
It is worth mentioning here that if 2019 OK had struck Earth, it could have delivered quite the blow to any city it struck, but would not have been a world-wide event. Scholars suggested that it would hit with some 30 times the power of the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.
In recent days, we all have heard about many asteroids including 2019 NN3, 2019 MB4, 2019 MT2, 2006 QV89, 2016 NO56M, RF12 and others going past through our planet. Although these asteroids were really close to Earth, but we were really fortunate.
Many asteroids have slammed into Earth with massive impacts. Also, the space rock that wiped out many species of dinosaurs about 65 million years ago. A global monitoring agency for nuclear weapons has detected 26 asteroid explosions with more power than a nuclear bomb in the 13 years between 2000 and 2013, according to a report.
According to a report of spacetelescope.org, there are more than 7 lakh asteroids that have been found in space. It further added that asteroids are mainly found in an area called the ‘main belt’, between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.