Reports around an asteroid which came very close to planet Earth on Sunday, August 16, 2020 at 12:08 a.m. EDT have surfaced the internet.
The asteroid, which is now called Asteroid 2020 QC by its finders, has become closest known “non-impacting” asteroid to fly over Earth. It came so close that our planet's gravity bent its trajectory.
The 10-20 feet/3-6 meters across sized 2020 QC was noted to be around the size of an elephant, which according to scientists is not large enough to cause damage to our planet. Instead, it would like have burned-up in Earth's atmosphere.
Asteroid 2020 QC came around 1,830 miles/2,950 kilometers above the Earth’s surface, the closest an asteroid has ever been detected.
How did Earth's gravity bend Asteroid 2020 QC?
Here's what two experts have to say about Earth's gravitational power:
“The asteroid flew close enough to Earth that Earth’s gravity significantly changed its orbit,” says ZTF co-investigator Tom Prince, the Ira S. Bowen Professor of Physics at Caltech and a senior research scientist at JPL.
“Our calculations show that this asteroid got turned by 45º or so as it swung by our planet,” said Paul Chodas, director of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.
Who are the finders of Asteroid 2020 QC?
Kunal Deshmukh, a student at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Kritti Sharma and Chen-Yen Hsu at the National Central University in Taiwan were scanning that day's images that came from the ZTF telescope when they found the Asteroid 2020 QC.