An asteroid the size of a house flew by Earth this afternoon, passing within 101,000 miles of us at 3:23 p.m. First spotted on January 30 and named 2017 BS32, the asteroid is the fourth giant space rock to have a close encounter with Earth since the start of 2017.
Last Sunday, a truck-size asteroid zipped by Earth at a distance much closer than today’s. Passing at just 32,200 miles, the 19-foot asteroid was six times closer to Earth than the Moon is. Asteroids also gave Earth a “close shave” on January 9 and January 24.
Three of the four asteroids to pass Earth so far this year have been discovered just days before whizzing by, something that astronomer Paul Cox from the Slooh Observatory says “raises a few eyebrows.”
If it’s complete global destruction you’re worried about (or hoping for) when you hear about these asteroids, you should not be concerned. Astronomers estimate that it would take a rock much bigger than any that have passed in 2017 to wipe out the entire planet.