Wednesday 11 December 2019

Asteroid to skim past Earth

Nick Collins

An asteroid larger than a double-decker bus is to pass within 28,000 miles of Earth on Tuesday, but has no chance of hitting the planet, Nasa has said.

The giant rock, which is 20ft (6m) wide, will come its closest shortly before midday, though astronomers are not sure what its exact path will be.

But experts, who named the asteroid 2010 TD54, said that despite passing very close to the planet it would not enter the atmosphere, and that even if it did it would burn up before reaching the ground.

Nasa's Asteroid Watch said on Twitter: "Small space rocks this size would burn up in our atmosphere & pose no ground danger."

The group added that a "moderate telescope" would be required to make out the rock, which will at times be closer to Earth than some satellites, and significantly nearer than the moon.

Emily Baldwin, of Astronomy Now, told The Times: "Fortunately it seems this one will miss us. But it is a reminder that the Earth is still in the middle of a cosmic shooting gallery and we need to keep constant watch for incoming asteroids".

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