The hurtling rock passed about 42,640 kilometers above the southern Atlantic Ocean at 3.38 am (IST) today.
It was the closest recorded encounter between Earth and an asteroid, said Steven Chesley, an astronomer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory who works on a program looking for such objects.
Such encounters, however, are actually believed to occur at the rate of one every two years and have simply not been detected, he said. “There certainly have been closer encounters that we didn’t know about,” he added.
It smells like media hype rather than substantive news.