An asteroid is seen heading towards the planet in this artistic rendition.(photo credit: PIXABAY)
By AARON REICH Published: JANUARY 14, 2022 12:48
2017 XC62 is estimated to be as much as 190 meters long, similar to the Tunguska asteroid, meaning it would be far more powerful than a nuclear bomb. Fortunately, an impact is unlikely.
A large asteroid comparable in size with the Washington Monument is heading in Earth’s direction in late January, according to NASA’s asteroid tracker. While it is unlikely to hit, an impact with an asteroid of this size could be far worse than most nuclear bombs.Known as 2017 XC62, this asteroid is estimated to range between 84 meters to 190 meters in size and is set to fly past the Earth on January 24 at a speed of around 4.31 kilometers per second. However, it is unlikely to actually impact, as it is set to fly over 7 million kilometers away from the Earth’s surface. For comparison, the distance between the Earth and the Moon is around 384,000 kilometers.This is fortunate, as the asteroid’s maximum estimated size is a whopping 190 meters in diameter.
THE LAST time a large asteroid struck the planet was in 2013 in Russia, when a 17-meter asteroid exploded in the atmosphere.But the last impact from an asteroid this big was in 1908 above the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in Russia, in what has now become known as the Tunguska event.
This asteroid is believed to have been around the same size as 2017 XC62, if not smaller. When the asteroid exploded in the air several kilometers above the area, it produced a massive 12 megaton explosion, causing widespread destruction for thousands of kilometers. That would make it about 800 times more powerful than “Little Boy,” the approximately 15-kiloton atomic bomb detonated during World War II over Hiroshima, and 600 times more than “Fat Man,” the 20-kiloton one detonated over Nagasaki three days later.The death toll from the Tunguska event was extremely low, however, with only around three people thought to have been killed in it, due to how remote and sparsely populated the region was. But the damage was still evident, with about 80 million trees completely flattened by winds of around 27 km per second. Tremors and airwaves were felt as far away as even Washington and Indonesia.The Actual Cost of a New Walk-In Shower May Surprise YouSponsored by WestShoreHomeBaths.comThe few eyewitness accounts that do exist recounted the terrifying explosion, strong winds, and tremors.”The sky split in two and fire appeared high and wide over the forest,” recounted a man who was about 65 kilometers south of the explosion.”The split in the sky grew larger, and the entire northern side was covered with fire,” he said. “At that moment I became so hot that I couldn’t bear it as if my shirt was on fire; from the northern side, where the fire was, came strong heat. I wanted to tear off my shirt and throw it down, but then the sky shut closed, and a strong thump sounded, and I was thrown a few meters. I lost my senses for a moment, but then my wife ran out and led me to the house.”After that such noise came, as if rocks were falling or cannons were firing; the Earth shook, and when I was on the ground, I pressed my head down, fearing rocks would smash it,” he said. “When the sky opened up, hot wind raced between the houses, like from cannons, which left traces in the ground like pathways, and it damaged some crops. Later we saw that many windows were shattered, and in the barn, a part of the iron lock snapped.”The Tunguska event is the largest in recorded history – though larger prehistoric ones happened – and is one of the largest explosions ever recorded, far more powerful than many nuclear bombs.