A city-destroying asteroid whizzed past Earth at a distance of only 45,000 miles. It caught scientists off-guard.

National News

Animation showing the close encounter with Asteroid OK and Earth on July 25.

It is called “Asteroid OK,” but what wasn’t OK was how this particular space rock escaped the notice of astronomers until a few days before its close encounter with Earth.

Estimated to be between 187 feet and 427 feet in diameter, the 15-mile-per-second bit of prehistoric debris was discovered by astronomical teams in the U.S. and Brazil, and later confirmed by the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab in California.

How did everyone miss this particular asteroid until days before it passed just behind the Earth?

According to scientists, the asteroid was traveling from the direction of the Sun. That, and the small size of the rock, made it difficult to “see” on the telescopes and other devices that locate and track asteroids.

It was first observed on July 24. It made it close pass by Earth on July 25.

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