Humans as a species have dodged at least one bullet in 2020. It turns out an asteroid the size of a bus missed Earth by just 240 miles on Friday, November 13th—but it wasn’t detected by experts until the following day. The asteroid was dubbed “2020 VT4” 15 hours after its closest approach by the Asteroid Terrestrial-Impact Last Alert System in Mauna Loa, Hawaii. Had it come much closer it would have burned up in the atmosphere over the South Pacific. Its orbit brought the estimated 16 to 33-foot wide body about the same distance from Earth as the International Space Station, making it the closest asteroid to pass by Earth on record to date. Astronomer Tony Dunn wrote on Twitter, “This encounter shortened its orbit, ensuring that this Earth-crosser will make more frequent close approaches.”
Here is how the BBC covered the story.