PASADENA (CBSLA) – A school bus-sized asteroid came within about 13,000 miles of the earth Thursday, according to scientists.
The asteroid, named “2020 SW,” is 15 to 30 feet wide and approached below a ring of geostationary satellites which themselves are in orbit about 22,000 miles above the earth’s surface, Pasadena-headquartered Jet Propulsion Laboratory reported this week.
The asteroid was closest to the earth at 4:12 a.m. Pacific time Thursday, over the southeastern Pacific Ocean, JPL reported.
2020 SW was discovered Sept. 18. It’s orbit will not bring it this close to the earth again until 2041.
“There are a large number of tiny asteroids like this one, and several of them approach our planet as close as this several times every year,” Paul Chodas, director of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at JPL said in a statement. “In fact, asteroids of this size impact our atmosphere at an average rate of about once every year or two.”