AN ASTEROID 150ft-wide whizzed past the Earth last night, 17,000 miles above the Equator, in what was the closest known fly-by for a rock of its size.
By the time it reached its closest point, over Indonesia at about 7.25pm GMT, Asteroid 2012 DA14 had passed within the orbit of communications satellites.
Its location was one- thirteenth of the distance from the Earth to the Moon.
The approach was the closest for such a large object since records began.
The asteroid could be seen with telescopes from here, streaking across the night sky northwards at a speed of five miles per second.
Experts said it was probably unrelated to the meteor crash which injured around 1,000 people in Russia yesterday.
Astronomers had admitted earlier there was a remote chance it could hit a satellite as it flew past.
Former Apollo astronaut Rusty Schweickart said the near-miss was evidence that "we are in a shooting gallery".
Experts said DA14 hitting Earth, would have released the energy of 2.4 million tons of TNT. (© Daily Telegraph, London)