Asteroid Attack? Scientists Explain Why There's No Reason For PanicBy Chris Brandt, UniversityHerald Reporter
On Thursday, another 'asteroid attack' occurred as the space rock called BS32 flew close to earth. The close encounter was the fourth time in just four weeks this year fueling asteroid apocalypse theories once again.
Asteroid NEA 2017 BS32 was spotted flying close by Earth on January 30. As the days passed by, it got closer to the planet and on February 2 at exactly 20:23 UTC with a distance of 100,214 miles from Earth, which is 60 percent closer than the moon. The chunk of space rock measures around 36 - 82 feet.
Prior to BS32, another asteroid called 2017 BH30 also brushed past Earth at a very close distance - 40,563 miles. That asteroid measures about 15 to 32.8 feet and is as big as a truck. After the appearance of BH30, scientists predicted that the next visitor will be in October making BS32 an unexpected passerby. It also became a cause of worry to some observers as visions of apocalypse are being painted.
It also sparked some discussions among astronomers who began to wonder whether the sudden 'asteroid attacks' have been purely coincidental or not. According to Paul Cox, an astronomer at the Slooh observatory, the incidents sparked conversations since 2016.
He added that their first theory for these slew of smaller asteroids was that they were part of a bigger asteroid which exploded. However, as they began to study the orbits of each asteroid, they did not find any correlation among them leading them to conclude that they are purely coincidental.
Despite the frequency of these asteroid showers, Cox was quick to add that the 'asteroid attacks' are in no way a sign of apocalypse saying that these space objects have flown by Earth without posing any danger to the planet.
Moreover, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is also monitoring these close encounters. They are also observing the 2016 WF9, which was detected in November last year and is expected to approach later this month.