An asteroid between eleven to thirty-four meters across (36 to 111 feet), approximately the size of 10 jumbo African elephants, came pretty close to earth on Monday morning, passing by at a distance only half that of the Moon.
According to the Slooh Observatory, the space rock, christened 2017 AG13, was moving at about 10 miles per second, making it hard to spot with a telescope.
“This is moving very quickly, very nearby to us,” Eric Edelman, an astronomer with Slooh, said during a live broadcast of the surprise flyby at 7:47 am ET on January 9.
The near-Earth object, or NEO, has “a particularly elliptical orbit,” he noted, adding that “it actually crosses the orbits of two planets, Venus and Earth.”
The asteroid was initially spotted by the University of Arizona’s Catalina Sky Survey as recently as Saturday.
While you were hitting snooze, we nearly hit an asteroid! At 7:47 AM EST an asteroid we only first spotted Saturday gave us a wake up call. pic.twitter.com/BbAQc7e2EJ— Slooh (@Slooh) January 9, 2017
We caught newly discovered asteroid 2017 AG13 as it made an extremely close approach to Earth this morning. It was closer than the Moon! pic.twitter.com/uKjWzGXmMA— Slooh (@Slooh) January 9, 2017