Newly-found asteroid buzzes past Earth

New Delhi A newly-discovered asteroid passed in close proximity to the earth on Tuesday, just 14,000 km above the planet's surface, but caused no damage to the orbiting communication satellites.

The asteroid "2012 KT42," which entered the Clark Belt of geosynchronous satellites, passed by the earth at around 1230 hours, SN Raghunandan Kumar of Planetary Society of India told PTI.

The asteroid, which was three to metres wide, ranks in the list of ten closest asteroid approaches to the earth. In fact, this is the sixth closest approach till date, which makes it significant despite its small size.

The asteroid was not visible to the unaided eye.

Considering the asteroid's orbit, there was no danger of a collision with the earth. Even if it did hit, the space rock is too small to cause significant damage. It would have possibly disintegrated almost entirely in the atmosphere, peppering the ground below with relatively small meteorites, Mr Kumar said.

Asteroids are a class of solar system bodies in the orbit around the sun. The larger asteroids are been called planetoids.

Story First Published: May 29, 2012 12:56 IST

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