Illustration of the orbit of asteroid 2018 GE3. The orbit appears to extend to the inner part of the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Image via Tomruen/Wikimedia Commons.
A medium-sized asteroid buzzed by Earth just hours after being detected this weekend. First observed at Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona on Saturday, April 14, 2018, the asteroid – which has been labeled 2018 GE3 – swept past us at about half the Earth-moon distance early Sunday morning according to clocks in North America. Closest approach to Earth occurred at around 2:41 a.m. EDT (6:41 UTC; translate UTC to your time) on April 15.
Its closest point to Earth was just 119,500 miles (192,317 km) away. That’s in contrast to the moon’s quarter-million-mile (400,000 km) distance. According to NASA, hours later, at about 5:59 a.m. EDT on April 15, the space rock passed even closer to the moon than it had to Earth.
With an estimated diameter of 157 to 361 feet (48 to 110 meters), asteroid 2018 GE3 has about three to six times the diameter of the space rock that penetrated the skies over Chelyabinsk, Russia in February 2013, causing some 1,500 people to seek treatment for injuries, ...