The only thing that was particularly unusual about two asteroids that zipped past Earth September 8, astronomers say, was that anybody noticed them.
Such close approaches — one of the asteroids passed within 79,000 kilometers of Earth — actually happen several times a week, according to scientists’ calculations. Yet some media outlets described the close encounter as if it were a brush with Armageddon.
“Quite frankly, I don’t know why they’re making such a fuss about it,” says astronomer Brian Marsden of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass. “This is essentially nothing.”
Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.