A giant asteroid safely zoomed past us overnight
Asteroid flybys are common, and we usually can see them coming. A building-sized asteroid whizzed by our planet overnight into Monday (May 9) and at a very safe distance, just like all the other giant space rocks we know of. The asteroid, known officially as 467460 (2006 JF42), came within 14 Earth-moon distances of our planet, according to data from the Center for Near Earth Object Studies at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The flyby of the the asteroid (estimated at 1,247 feet to 2,822 feet across, or 380 to 860 meters) is a symbol of the ever-present change in our solar system.
Its Planetary Defense Coordination Office monitors the sky with telescopes, and you can review prominent upcoming flybys and the agency's Small-Body Database to gain more information about space rocks. While NASA does classify some asteroids as "potentially hazardous," that designation is not a cause for panic. There is no known threat to Earth despite decades of searching. That list is also updated from time to time, such as the removal of asteroid Apophis from the list in 2021 after fresh observations showed it poses no threat whatsoever to Earth in the next 100 years.
Scientists are becoming ever more adept at finding large asteroids like 2006 JF42 as telescope technology improves, which is why it may seem there are so many space rocks going by us these days. An example is the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission that aims to smack a moonlet later this year to redirect its path around an asteroid, to demonstrate kinetic impacting technology against potential asteroid threats.
Read full article at Space.com