Asteroids Toutatis and XE54 Pass Close To Earth
Asteroids Toutatis and XE54 give Earth a close flyby last week. Toutatis passes by Earth every 4 years at a distance of 4 million miles and it’s clearly visible with a telescope.
The new asteroid, XE54 discovered just last week, came “a little too close for comfort,” within 140,000 miles of our planet. It came ”about as close to crashing into Earth as an asteroid possibly can, without actually doing so,” according to The Washington Post. Astronomers say that XE54 was small enough that most of it would have burned up in the atmosphere but Space.com noted that the fact that it was not spotted until it was basically upon us is a ”troubling sign.”
It is estimated that there are over 4,000 Near Earth Objects (NEOs), which are big enough to take out a chunk of land the size of a state, that routinely pass close to the Earth, of which only 30% have been identified.