Expatica news

Asteroid could have ‘wiped out a city’

19 March 2004

MUENSTER – The 30-metre-wide asteroid that streaked past the Earth overnight could have “wiped out a city” had its trajectory been marginally different, a German astronomer said Friday.

As it was, it was the closest recorded encounter between Earth and an astroid, said Dr. Addi Bischoff of the University of Muenster’s Institute for Planetology.

The asteroid, 2004 FH, swept across the Eastern Hemisphere at 22.08 GMT Thursday just 43,000 kilometres from Earth. It was travelling so fast that by midday Friday it was beyond the moon’s orbit.

It was visible to nighttime observers in Europe and Asia.

“If it had struck the Earth it would have created a crater some 300 metres in diameter,” Bischoff said.

The blast force would be the equivalent of a small nuclear device.

“That could have wiped out a city, causing hundreds of thousands of casualties,” he said.

Bischoff noted that an object of similar size fell to Earth in 1908 in Siberia, flattening 2,000 square kilometres of forest.


Subject: German News