Today on "Unhelpful Comparative Metrics":
Here's a little more detail from the actual article, which is still not particularly helpful:
The space rock, named 2022 EB5, is believed to have mostly burnt up in our planet's atmosphere, but even if it had impacted the surface it would have done little to no damage because it was just 10ft (3 metres) wide, about half the size of a giraffe.
Some people in Iceland reported hearing a boom or seeing a flash of light around the time 2022 EB5 scooted across the sky at 11 miles per second (18.5 km/s) between Greenland and Norway.
Here's how The Animal Files describe the actual size of a giraffe:
They have a body length between 3.8 and 4.7 m (9.75 – 15 ft), a tail length between 78 and 100 cms (31 – 39 inches), a shoulder height between 4 and 4.7 m (13.1 – 15.4 ft) and they weigh between 0.6 and 1.9 tonnes (0.5 – 2 tons).
On the top of their head they have bony horns called ossicones, especially the adult males, which makes their total height to the top of their horn tips between 4.7 and 5.3 m (15.4 – 17.4 ft) and for females 3.9 – 4.5 m (12.8 – 14.8 ft).
So even ignoring the fact that giraffes have a wildly unique shape that is particular unhelpful for size comparisons … there's still not any metric upon which "half the size of a giraffe" would equal 10 feet, which is how large this asteroid was.
It's also not clear who, exactly, came up with this scintillating comparison, either.
What is worth noting is that the asteroid was small enough to have escaped observation until right before it landed. But apparently that still makes it only the fifth time an asteroid has been noticed at all prior to impact. As Space.com reported:
On Friday (March 11), astronomer Krisztián Sárneczky was observing the sky at the Piszkésteto Mountain Station, which is part of the Konkoly Observatory near Budapest in Hungary. During his observations, he spotted an asteroid, now dubbed 2022 EB5 by the Minor Planet Center. Scientists estimate that the space rock was about 10 feet (3 meters) wide (no big deal for an asteroid).
But the sighting soon got a lot more interesting: Just 30 minutes after the discovery, data showed that the space rock was a mere two hours away from colliding with Earth's atmosphere.
Fortunately, if Hollywood films have taught me anything, asteroids the size of several hundred giraffes will almost certainly be noticed in advance — although whether or not humanity does anything about them is still up for debate.
Asteroid spotted just before hitting Earth's atmosphere wows astronomers [Chelsea Gohd / Space.com]