Bus-sized asteroid narrowly missed Earth

(Fotolia)

(Fotolia)

WENN.com

, Last Updated: 9:47 AM ET

Most of us were blissfully unaware, but a huge asteroid the size of a double-decker bus careered past the Earth over the weekend.

The space rock flew within 186,000 miles of the planet after being spotted by astronomers a few days before.

While the distance from the planet might seem big, the asteroid in fact passed within the moon's orbit, which orbits the planet from about 238,855 miles away.

The rock was spotted by stargazers at the Mount Lemmon Survey team, according to an alert by Minor Planet Center, part of the International Astronomical Union.

Researchers around the world keep a constant look out for any potentially dangerous rocks that might hit Earth, but an alarmingly small number have been identified.

Ex-astronaut Ed Lu recently told Wired.com, "While most large asteroids with the potential to destroy an entire country or continent have been detected, less than 10,000 of the more than a million dangerous asteroids with the potential to destroy an entire major metropolitan area have been found by all existing space or terrestrially-operated observatories. Because we don't know where or when the next major impact will occur, the only thing preventing a catastrophe from a 'city-killer' sized asteroid has been blind luck."


Videos

Photos