Wednesday 13 December 2017

Massive asteroid to whizz past Earth: 'It won't hit, but it will be a very close approach'

The asteroid is nicknamed 'The Rock'

The asteroid will miss Earth
The asteroid will miss Earth
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

AN ASTEROID which is 2,000 feet wide will fly past Earth on Wednesday.

Nasa said in a statement that while it won't collide with our planet, it will be a "very close approach".

"This upcoming close approach is the closest by any known asteroid of this size, or larger, since asteroid Toutatis, a 3.1-mile (five-kilometer) asteroid, which approached within about four lunar distances in September 2004.

"Although there is no possibility for the asteroid to collide with our planet, this will be a very close approach for an asteroid of this size.

The asteroid, nicknamed 'The Rock', is roughly 650 metres (2,000 feet) across and will come within 1.8 million kilometres of Earth.

It is due to whizz past Earth at 1.24pm Irish time and may be visible in the night sky.

The asteroid will continue past Jupiter before heading back towards the centre of our solar system.

The next close encounter with an asteroid will not happen until 2027, when the 800-metre (half-mile) wide asteroid 199-AN10 will fly by at just one lunar distance, about 380,000 km (236,000 miles).

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