A giant meteorite 140 to 310 m in diameter has just flew close to the Earth at a speed 20 times faster than rifle bullets.
The asteroid named 2016 CL136 was closest to Earth at 5:26 a.m. on February 2, according to the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS). Based on the viewing angle, astronomers estimate this asteroid to be around 140-310m in diameter. At the high end of the estimate, 2016 CL136 is as tall as the Chrysler Building in New York or the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. In the lower half of the estimate, the asteroid is as large as the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt.
In the new approach, the asteroid flies 5.3 million kilometers from Earth, a relatively small astronomical distance, 14 times the average distance between Earth and the Moon. The 2016 CL136 travels at 65,017 km / h, 20 times faster than rifle bullets, 55 times the speed of sound and about a fifth the speed of lightning. Astronomers know the flight path of the 2016 CL136 and conclude that it is unlikely to crash into Earth in the near future. If an object the size of the 2016 CL136 were to crash into Earth, it would certainly cause damage on a regional scale.
2016 CL136 is one of many near-Earth (NEO) objects that orbit the Sun. This group of objects includes all asteroids or comets within 48 million kilometers or less of Earth. So far, researchers have identified around 25,000 near-Earth objects, the vast majority of which are asteroids. According to NASA, none of these objects are likely to crash on Earth in the next century.