Asteroid To Miss Earth After NASA Narrows Path Of Uncertainty - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Asteroid To Miss Earth After NASA Narrows Path Of Uncertainty

Posted: Updated:

NEWSOXY.COM - A large asteroid, known as 2011 AG5 and big enough to release 100 megatons of energy, will miss Earth in 2040 after NASA narrowed down it's cone of uncertainty, revealing that it's no longer a threat to mankind.

Astronomers took up the task to manage the asteroid from the University of Hawaii at Mania for several days in October.

"An analysis of the new data conducted by NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, shows that the risk of collision in 2040 has been eliminated," NASA said.

The new observations, made with the Gemini 8-meter telescope in Mauna Kea, Hawaii, reduce the orbit uncertainties by more than a factor of 60. That means the Earth's position in February 2040 is not in range of the asteroid's possible future paths.

The asteroid, which is 460 feet in diameter, will get no closer to Earth than 553,000 miles, or more than twice the distance to the moon, NASA said.

A collision with Earth would have released about 100 megatons of energy, several thousand times more powerful than the atomic bombs that ended World War II, according to the Gemini Observatory.

Observing the asteroid wasn't easy, said David Tholen, an astronomer at the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy.

The asteroid's position was very close to the sun, so astronomers had to observe it when the sky was dark. Tholen told CNN there was about a half-hour between when the asteroid got high enough in the sky for the telescope to point at it and before the sky became too light to observe it.

Because the astronomers were looking at the asteroid low in the sky, they were viewing it through a lot of atmosphere, which scattered some of the light and made the object fainter, he said.

"The second effect is the turbulence of the atmosphere makes things fainter," Tholen said. "We had to keep trying over and over until we got one of those nights when the atmosphere was calm."

The last near miss asteroid was known as "2005 YU55," which passed by Earth on November 8, 2011. The meteorite is the same size as an aircraft-carrier. It was the largest near-miss for the planet in three decades.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Dog found nearly dead with gunshot wounds still needs a home

    Dog found nearly dead with gunshot wounds still needs a home

    Friday, September 12 2014 8:21 PM EDT2014-09-13 00:21:26 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Many of you may remember Bella, the American Staffordshire Terrier that stole our hearts after she was found by a family camping in the woods near Coeur d'Alene beaten, starving and nearly dead from two gun shot wounds. >>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Many of you may remember Bella, the American Staffordshire Terrier that stole our hearts after she was found by a family camping in the woods near Coeur d'Alene beaten, starving and nearly dead from two gun shot wounds. The family who found her, rushed her to the vet and somehow she survived. >>>ADOPT BELLA>>> >>
  • First date ends with man dead, woman hospitalized

    First date ends with man dead, woman hospitalized

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 9:44 AM EDT2014-09-16 13:44:21 GMT
    TACOMA, Wash. (AP) - Pierce County sheriff's detectives know this much: a first date ended with a Gig Harbor, Washington, man dead and his date hospitalized in critical condition.The News Tribune reports that investigators think the 47-year-old Port Orchard woman ran over her date, then crashed his truck 15 feet down an embankment.>>
    TACOMA, Wash. (AP) - Pierce County sheriff's detectives know this much: a first date ended with a Gig Harbor, Washington, man dead and his date hospitalized in critical condition.The News Tribune reports that investigators think the 47-year-old Port Orchard woman ran over her date, then crashed his truck 15 feet down an embankment.
    >>
  • WATCH: Rarely seen 9/11 Budweiser commercial that aired only once

    WATCH: Rarely seen 9/11 Budweiser commercial that aired only once

    Thursday, September 11 2014 8:52 PM EDT2014-09-12 00:52:54 GMT
    KHQ.COM - This Budweiser commercial was produced after the September 11th terrorist attacks. However, it hasn't been widely seen because Budweiser only aired it once so as not to benefit financially from it - they just wanted to acknowledge the tragic event.>>
    KHQ.COM - This Budweiser commercial was produced after the September 11th terrorist attacks. However, it hasn't been widely seen because Budweiser only aired it once so as not to benefit financially from it - they just wanted to acknowledge the tragic event.>>