Is it possible for a 5 km asteroid to come within 10 km of hitting Earth but just graze the atmosphere?

What would happen? Would everything under it basically evaporate from the heat?

6 Answers

  • 3 weeks ago
    Favorite Answer


    A small "asteroid" has been documented to graze the atmosphere and return to space, a few decades back in 1972. Others are also known or suspected.

    For a large asteroid, it depends how deep into the atmosphere they penetrate. If it just grazed the outer stratosphere there would be a spectacular display, like a massive re-entry of space junk. Most likely many small pieces and much dust would be released, generating a spectacular show.

    I would expect a lower entry to generate significant heat at ground level, causing fires, burns, and structural damage due to intense shockwaves.A grazing descent to 10km would almost certainly cause an airburst of biblical proportions. There would be total devastation of almost an entire continent, and profound effects upon the global biosphere. A city leveller is an asteroid about 30 metres across. You can scarcely imagine the effects of a 5000 metre one.

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  • Dan
    Lv 4
    3 weeks ago

    Everything is possible my friend.

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  • 3 weeks ago

    Yes, It is possible. 10 kilometers is 6.12 miles, so it is possible it might impact. The effects would be devastating for the area it impacted and the world from the impact winter.

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  • 3 weeks ago

    10 km from Earth is far within the atmosphere. Planes fly higher than that. The asteroid would break up when it hit the atmosphere and then hit the ground.

    Sure, we could have a near miss if it passed 500 km to 500,000 km from Earth. Nothing would happen.

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  • 3 weeks ago

    10 km isn't remotely just "grazing" the atmosphere.

    That's about the level commercial airlines fly.

    No asteroid that got that deep into the atmosphere would survive to leave it.  It would either go on to strike the ground, leaving a crater about 100 km across (think Manicougan Crater in Canada), or it would explode as an air burst, depending on its density.

    An air burst large enough to destroy a big city.

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  • 3 weeks ago

    A 10 Km altitude is well within the atmosphere, and such an object passing that deep into the atmosphere would hit the Earth, period.

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    • skeptik
      Lv 7
      3 weeks agoReport

      It wouldn't matter.  By the time it got that deep into the atmosphere, the party's over.

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