October 19, 2013 - A potentially catastrophic asteroid
has been discovered by astronomers, who say there's a slim chance that the 410-meter-wide minor planet will crash into Earth
in 2032, creating a blast 50 times greater than the biggest nuclear bomb.
The asteroid, described as 2013 TV135, was found in the Camelopardalis
(Giraffe) constellation by the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory
in southern Ukraine, the Minor Planet Center
of the International Astronomers
"On the night of October 12, I was watching the Giraffe constellation, it was an in-depth monitoring as part of the comet search program," Gennady Borisov from the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory
told Itar-Tass news agency. "This is when the asteroid... was discovered. The first observations show that it moves quickly and is relatively close."
The discovery has been confirmed by astronomers in Italy, Spain, the UK and Russia. In Russia, it was seen with telescopes at the Master Observatory in the Siberian republic of Buryatia, the IAU Minor Planet Center
The asteroid has been added to the List of the Potentially Hazardous Asteroids, which includes celestial bodies with orbits closer than 7.5 million kilometers from the Earth's orbit.
However, the threat posed by 2013 TV135 is minor, as it only has a one in 63,000 chance of colliding with our planet, according to available estimates.
Astronomers say the asteroid's orbit will be about 1.7 million kilometers away from the Earth's orbit on August 26, 2032.
If the asteroid hits Earth, it would create an explosion equivalent to 2,500 megatons of TNT, which is 50 times greater than the biggest nuclear bomb ever detonated.