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Large asteroid stronger than nuke heading towards Earth late December

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Large asteroid stronger than nuke heading towards Earth late December

A large asteroid the size of the Washington Monument is heading for Earth in late December that, if it impacts, would cause devastation far greater than an atomic bomb, according to NASA’s asteroid tracker.

Known as 2018 AH, this asteroid is estimated to range around 190 meters in size and is set to pass by the Earth on December 27.

The asteroid is unlikely to hit the planet, however, and is set to pass by at a distance of over 4.5 million kilometers away. For comparison, the distance between the Earth and the Moon is around 384,000 kilometers.

 

But this asteroid has come by Earth before – and at a much closer distance.

Back in 2018, 2018 AH flew past the planet the planet at a distance of 296,758 kilometers, closer than the Moon is to Earth. It had gone unnoticed due to how dim it was, and scientists didn’t properly see it coming. 

An asteroid is seen crashing into the Earth in this artistic rendering of an asteroid impact. (credit: PIXABAY)

Since that time, no asteroid of such size has come so close to the Earth before, and none are ever expected to until 2028, when the massive nearly kilometer-long 153814 (2001 WN5) will arrive, though it won’t hit the planet either and is set to pass at a distance of around 249,000 kilometers.

But what would happen if an asteroid the size of 2018 AH struck the Earth?

Ordinarily, it can be difficult to accurately guess, as size often varies. But in this case, astronomers happen to have a very good idea of exactly how destructive it would be, because something like this happened before.

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