NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – As if 2020 couldn’t get more complicated, experts say an asteroid will hurtle toward Earth on the eve of Election Day. But, is it really something New Yorkers need to worry about?
Scientists are tracking Asteroid 2018 VP1. There are no pictures of it flying through space since it’s quite small, by the universe’s standard, CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock reported.
It measures 6.5′ in diameter, roughly a foot smaller than a park bench.
According to NASA, the asteroid only has a 0.41 percent chance of hitting Earth – a 1 in 240 chance.
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“It could all happen now. I didn’t think there was gonna be a pandemic.. I didn’t think there would be killer bees around… Who knows?” said Flushing resident Gavi Gewirtz.
Murdock asked Denton Ebel, the curator of meteorites at the American Museum of Natural History, if the asteroid could impact out planet.
“Could this be a bit of a light show for us, at the very least?” Murdock asked.
“Oh, of course. It’s also possible that it would be an airburst… it would go deeper into the atmosphere before actually exploding,” said Ebel.
Ebel said an airburst is what happened over Chelybinsk, Russia in 2013.
“Scary as heck,” he said. “It exploded very high up, but even there it caused plain glass windows to shatter below it. These are very powerful explosions… That was an 18 meter diameter rock. This is two meters.”
A smaller rock means a smaller explosion.
It’s also possible the asteroid just passes through the atmosphere, like a rock skipping on a lake, according to Ebel.
“This asteroid was calculated to have its most likely path 260,000 miles away from Earth,” said Ebel.
“I guess there’s no sense in me stocking up on toilet paper, then,” said Ed Haas, an Upper West Side resident.
“I hope it doesn’t have anything to do with the elections,” said Brian Berko.
“I don’t believe in omens, so it really is simply a coincidence, but you can make a great story about it,” said Joan Jankell.
Coincidence or not, many eyes will be on the sky on November 2 to see if the asteroid defies the odds.
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