A December surprise

That giant sucking sound this morning was an asteroid “just missing” Earth. Or not.

The Washington Post says “XE54 came about as close to crashing into Earth as an asteroid can without actually doing so – close enough to be ‘eclipsed by Earth’s shadow, causing its shadow to ‘wink out’ for a short time.'”

That’s not even the scary part.

Universe Today says there’s only two other known instances of an asteroid being eclipsed by the Earth’s shadow. “Asteroid 2008 TC3” which entered the atmosphere over Sudan in 2008, and a flyby in 2012.

That’s not the scary part either.

The asteroid is only about 100 feet wide and the Post says although it might not have done much more than lit up the sky had it entered our atmosphere, “a direct hit by remaining rock chunks on a populated region could be disastrous.” A 500-foot wide asteroid would be like an atomic bomb, it says.

That’s not the scary part either.

This is: Nobody knew it was there until an hour before it missed “us.”

But the Post assures us “there are no sure collisions on the horizon even over the next few hundred years, ” while also informing us that much of the sky isn’t really being monitored.

Question: If you only had an hour before a large asteroid might hit Earth, would you want to know?