Election Day Asteroid Didn't Hit—NASA Says 2 More Will Pass Earth Today

The "election day asteroid" that Neil deGrasse Tyson said would "buzz-cut" Earth on November 2 did not hit our planet. The asteroid—a refrigerator-sized space-rock dubbed 2018 VP1—flew past Earth safely having been forecast to come within around 4,000 miles of our planet, which is an extremely small distance in astronomical terms.

Posting on Twitter on October 18, deGrasse Tyson said: "Asteroid 2018 VP1, a refrigerator-sized space-rock, is hurtling towards us at more than 40,000 km/hr.

"It may buzz-cut Earth on Nov 2, the day before the Presidential Election. It's not big enough to cause harm. So if the World ends in 2020, it won't be the fault of the Universe."

NASA said there was a 0.41 percent chance of the asteroid entering Earth's atmosphere but even then said it would not hit the surface of the planet. Instead, it said it may graze the outer edges of the atmosphere—a 6,200 mile thick layer known as the exosphere.

Following the flyby, Michael Busch, an astronomer with the SETI institute, gave an update on the asteroid's status, saying nothing had been picked up on atmospheric monitors. "2018 VP1 has, as expected, flown past Earth," he wrote on Twitter. "Still awaiting optical recovery from the asteroid-discovery surveys."

Data from NASA's Center for Near Earth Object Studies shows two more asteroids will pass Earth today, albeit at a much greater distance than 2018 VP1.

The first, 2020 UA3, is an asteroid measuring up to 88 feet in width that will fly by at a distance of around 1.3 million miles. This is about five times the distance between Earth and the Moon (238,900 miles.)

The second has been named 2020 HF4 and has a diameter of up to 60 foot. This asteroid will have a close approach of more than 3.8 million miles.

Three more asteroids will pass Earth on November 4 and 5, with two on Wednesday and one on Thursday. The largest of these, which will fly by on Wednesday at a distance of 3.3 million miles, is up to 150 feet wide.

CNEOS data shows that throughout the next year, the closest an asteroid will come to Earth will be 2020 SO, which will pass by at around 30,000 miles on December 1. The biggest to come within 4.6 million miles of Earth over the next 12 months will be an asteroid known as 231937 (2001 FO32). This space rock is estimated to be up to 5,500 feet wide and will pass Earth safely on March 21 next year.

Stock image representing an asteroid. The "election day asteroid" safely passed by Earth on November 2. iStock