When an asteroid the size of a 500-foot-wide building comes hurling toward Earth, well, scientists take note. In fact, they even “red flag” it.
Not because we Earthlings are in any sort of grave danger. But mostly because an asteroid that large coming anywhere near our planet is fairly notable.
That’s what happened on Dec. 22, when a 500-foot mammoth of a rock came within 1.7 million miles of the Earth — and at about 24,000 mph. So basically, about as quickly as it takes for the light to turn on when you flick the switch.
You wouldn’t think anything that big should be able to move so fast.
NASA gave it the official name of Asteroid 2022 UD9. Then again, it’s so big it had more than one name. It also went by 20010 XC15. It will be back, too. In 2089, that is. So most of us reading this no longer have to worry about it.
For those of you wondering about specifics, the Sky Live broke it down this way:
“Asteroid (NEO) 2022 UD9 is currently in the constellation of Ophiucus. The current Right Ascension of Asteroid (NEO) 2022 UD9 is 17h 12m 59s and the Declination is -09° 49’ 02” (topocentric coordinates computed for the selected location: Greenwich, United Kingdom [change]). The current magnitude of Asteroid (NEO) 2022 UD9 is 25.00 (JPL).”
In simpler terms, this asteroid was big. Real big. It’s also incredibly fast. That made it noteworthy, as the type of asteroid that comes along only once in a blue moon.
For Earthlings like us, that’s kinda cool.