According to The Telegraph, Russian scientist Vladimir Lipunov from Moscow University says he discovered an asteroid the size of a mountain that passes through earth’s orbit every three years.
The asteroid — which Lipunov named ‘2014 UR116’ — is a much more serious threat to earth than the asteroid that exploded in the skies over Chelyabinsk, Russia on February 15, 2013. One thousand people were hurt by exploding shards of glass as a result of that explosion.
Lipunov says there does not seem to be any threat ‘2013 UR116′ will hit earth, but he added that asteroids’ trajectories are often changed by the gravitational pull of other planets they pass by.
If ‘2014 UR116’ ever hit earth, Lipunov estimates the explosion would be 1,000 times greater than the Chelyabinsk asteroid that was only bus-sized (19 meters) compared to ‘2014 UR116’ which is 400 meters in size.
The Chelyabinsk asteroid caught people off guard because no one saw it coming. In fact, most astronomers were tracking another asteroid named ‘2012 DA14’ when the Chelyabinsk asteroid hit.
Asteroids are often very difficult to track due their dark color and if they are coming out of the sun, as the Chelyabinsk asteroid did, they are impossible to see.
There are about 100,000 asteroids that pass through earth’s orbit that are considered dangerous, of those astronomers are only tracking 11,000.
The difference between asteroids and meteors
Asteroids are larger than meteors. Asteroids can be hundreds of kilometres in size and are referred to as minor-planets. Some are large enough to have a gravitational pull and can even have moons circling them. Meteors are smaller versions of asteroids that usually burn up when they hit the earth’s atmosphere. There is no size definition that distinguishes the difference between the two.
Are their apocalyptic overtones to these asteroids?
The reports of these asteroids may have end-time implications. Speaking of the last days, Jesus said:
and there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. (Luke 21:11 NASV)
The Greek word for terrors (phobetron) is derived from the word phobos from which we get the word phobia. According to the Expository Dictionary of the New Testament, phobetron refers to “objects or instruments of terror.”
Jesus says these objects would be coming from the sky and they would strike fear in people’s hearts. But Jesus also said they would be a sign — but what would they be a sign of?
In his vision of the end-times recorded in the Book of Revelation, the Apostle John saw a similar thing. He describes it this way:
And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. (Revelation 6:13 NASV)
Previous warnings about asteroids
Earlier this year, a group made up of a former NASA scientist and astronauts warned that it is just blind-luck, the earth has not been hit by an asteroid causing massive damage. In their report, they said there have been 26 explosions on earth as a direct result of asteroids since 2001. This was ten times more asteroid hits, than previously thought.
The group detected these impacts using the nuclear testing network set up by the Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization.
According to this group, most of the asteroids exploded in the earth’s atmosphere and those that did reach earth hit oceans or uninhabited areas. They said it was blind-luck, that a populated area has not been hit causing massive death and destruction.
This group along with Lipunov are calling for governments to set up an asteroid tracking system.