Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (or JPL on short) declared that the asteroid 2019 QQ swooped by Earth at 9:30 EST (3:30 BST) on Friday night. The immense asteroid was only observed earlier this week after being detected by NASA on August 21, two days prior skimming by Earth, says JPL.
The asteroid was classified as a near-Earth object (NEO), specifically an Apollo-type asteroid.
Near Earth Objects are celestial bodies like comets which orbit between 91 million and 121 million miles from the Sun.
When NEOs orbit around the Sun they can come extremely close to our planet (comparative to the distance between our planet and the Moon).
The asteroid was also labeled as potentially “Earth – crossing”, meaning that it is a space rock which moves around the solar system on an orbital path that occasionally allows it to cross Earth’s orbit.
Even though the asteroid was only just discovered recently, it is reportedly a frequent visitor in our area of the solar system.
Scientists at JPL were able to put together a list of upcoming encounters with our planet, and it goes on for decades into the future, and it turns out that in this relatively short period, the asteroid could fly by Earth for up to twenty-eight times.
2019 QQ flew past Earth seven times over the course of the past 40 years.
Dodged a bullet
Back in July, we narrowly avoided a cataclysmic “tragedy” when Asteroid 2019 OK shot past the planet, which took the world by surprise because it only appeared on specialized radars one day prior to flying past our planet, and it had the potential of destroying an entire city.