A cosmic warning shot

Deep Impact 1998

Is the universe trying to tell us something?

Astronomers were shocked in recent days when an asteroid that some are calling a “city-killer” passed last week within 45,000 miles of Earth — spitting distance in astronomical terms.

Ground-side observers had been tracking a couple of celestial objects that were slated to cross near Earth’s orbit around the same time, but the hunk of space debris, estimated to be between 57 and 130 meters (187-426 feet) wide, was only detected hours before it streaked past Earth on Thursday.

Speaking with the Washington Post, Alan Duffy of the Royal Institution of Australia said that he “was stunned” and that the sudden appearance of the object, dubbed Asteroid 2019 OK, “was a true shock.” It passed “uncomfortably close,” he said. […]

According to Duffy, if it had hit “it would have gone off like a very large nuclear weapon.”

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