TWO ASTEROIDS NARROWLY MISS EARTH



TWICE THIS YEAR (1982) asteroids have come unusually close to earth. On January 23, an asteroid about halt a mile wide passed within 2.5 million miles (one ot the closest approaches on record), and on April 12, a. bigger one—almost three miles wide—swung by 13 million miles away.


The first asteroid was discovered by Eleanor Helm at the Palomar Observatory in California, but not until a month after it had passed. Had it been on a collisioncourse, it would have zapped us, she told Geosphere, even with our net-work of telescopes. However, even if there had been warning, little could have. been done beyond evacuating the impact area. The. asteroid crosses the earth’s orbit on the average of once every 1.9 years. There are about 45 ‘earth-crossing” asteroids, but astronomers figure the chances of a collision are slight.


The second asteroid, discovered at the European Southern Observatory in Chile stayed outside the earth’s orbit.



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