Huge ‘planet killer’ asteroid spotted hiding in the sun’s glare

Huge 'planet killer' asteroid spotted hiding in the sun’s glare

A massive asteroid — called a planet killer — was found orbiting near the earth.

Published in the peer-reviewed Astronomical Journal on Monday — astronomers said they spotted an asteroid that’s more than a mile wide that had been lurking undetected within the glare of the sun.

Lead study author Scott S. Sheppard, an astronomer at the Earth & Planets Laboratory of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, DC, said in a statement that if an asteroid that big hit earth, “it would be a mass extinction event like hasn’t been seen on earth in millions of years.”

But they said it wouldn’t happen for centuries, and even then, scientists don’t know the asteroid’s orbit with enough precision to say how dangerous it could become in the future.

Still, the team expects to find more planet-killer asteroids over the next couple of years.

Already, more than 27,000 near-earth asteroids exist in all shapes and sizes, according to CNN Newsource.

No asteroids are currently on a direct impact course with earth, but detecting the threat of near-earth objects that could cause massive damage is a primary focus of NASA and other space organizations around the world.

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CNN Newsource attributed to this article.