Nobody Freak out, but a Skull-Shaped Asteroid is About to Pass the Earth
On November 11, Asteroid 2015 TB145, a skull-shaped asteroid is going to pass relatively near Earth.
So it’s probably no big deal, and you probably shouldn’t be too alarmed, but there’s an asteroid heading for the Earth that looks an awful lot like a screaming skull. It’s probably fine.
The asteroid, sexily named 2015 TB 145, was initially discovered right around Halloween back in 2015. At the time it whizzed past Earth at the semi-alarmingly close distance of 301,986 miles – just slightly further than the Earth is from the moon. This time around it’s much further out, about 24 million miles, or about a quarter of the distance from the Earth to the sun. It shouldn’t cause any issues, but, ya know, it’s a screaming skull heading toward Earth. Keep that damn thing away from us.
The asteroid, which should be affectionately renamed “Oh god, oh god, there’s a screaming skull coming toward us,” is on an orbit in and out of the solar system. It will return in 2024, but it will be closer to Venus and Mars. It will then return again in 2028 and 2037. To make the asteroid even weirder, astronomers believe that it may actually be a dead comet that lost its icy tail after a few too many trips around the sun.
The good news is that screaming skull shaped or not, the asteroid is small. It’s enough to cause a huge amount of damage, but at just 2,047 feet it’s a fraction of the extinction level asteroid that killed the dinosaurs (which was around 6 miles wide). It’s distance already eliminated it as a threat, but its size is just scary, not “holy crap.” A few others on the way though…
On August 7, 2027, an asteroid will pass by Earth at 185,911 miles. That puts is about 100,000 miles closer than the moon. And if that doesn’t give you shivers, on April 13, 2029, another will pass by at just 23,239 miles. And just for an additional kick, that one is named Apophis after the Egyptian god of evil. That may require NASA to get extreme and do something like try to shoot it, or maybe send a bunch of roughneck oil drillers to the rock with a bunch of nukes and a can-do attitude.
So sit back and enjoy this skull-shaped asteroid as it harmlessly flies by Earth, mocking us.