Asteroid's surprise close approach illustrates need for more eyes in the sky

08 August 2019



Asteroid 2019 OK observed moving against backdrop of stars.

Credit: S. Schmalz / ISON

On 25 July, an asteroid the size of a football field flew by Earth, coming within 65 000 km of our planet’s surface during its closest approach – about one fifth of the distance to the Moon.

The 100 m-wide asteroid dubbed '2019 OK' was detected just days before it passed Earth, although archival records from sky surveys show it had previously been observed but wasn't recognised as a near-Earth asteroid.

While 2019 OK illustrates the need for even more eyes on the sky, it also provides an opportunity to improve the asteroid recognising abilities of current and future telescopes, including ESA's upcoming 'Flyeye'.

For more information you can read ESA’s dedicated news at
http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Safety/Asteroid_s_surprise_close_approach_illustrates_need_for_more_eyes_on_the_sky