Big asteroid to make close, harmless zip by Earth

November 8, 2011

An asteroid the size of an aircraft carrier is set to make a close but harmless swing by Earth on Tuesday.

Scientists at NASA's Near-Earth Object Program, which tracks asteroids and comets, ruled out any chance of impact. They're using the close encounter to learn more about the known as 2005 YU55.

The last time a cosmic interloper this size came this close to Earth was in 1976 and it won't happen again until 2028.

Since late last week, antennas at the space agency's in California have been monitoring the quarter-mile-wide asteroid as it approaches from the direction of the sun.

The in Puerto Rico planned a viewing Tuesday when the asteroid is set to make its closest pass at a distance of 202,000 miles at 6:28 p.m. EST.

Researchers will analyze to glean details about the asteroid's surface features and shape.

Since its discovery six years ago by a University of Arizona astronomer, scientists have learned a great deal about 2005 YU55. Its surface is coal black, and it spins slowly through space.

Amateur skygazers who want a glimpse need two things: a good sky chart and a 6-inch telescope or larger since the asteroid is too faint to detect with the naked eye. Even with a telescope, sighting is not guaranteed. The glare from the moon may make the asteroid difficult to spot.

Explore further: Radar Clicks Asteroid's Pic

More information: NASA's Near-Earth Object Program: http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov

0 shares

Related Stories

Radar Clicks Asteroid's Pic

April 30, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Near-Earth asteroid 2005 YU55 was "imaged" by the Arecibo Radar Telescope in Puerto Rico on April 19. Data collected during Arecibo's observation of 2005 YU55 allowed the Near-Earth Object Program Office ...

Small asteroid to pass within Earth-Moon system Tuesday

October 11, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- A small asteroid will fly past Earth early Tuesday within the Earth-moon system. The asteroid, 2010 TD54, will have its closest approach to Earth's surface at an altitude of about 45,000 kilometers (27,960 ...

Spacecraft Earth to perform asteroid 'flyby' this fall

May 3, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Since the dawn of the space age, humanity has sent 16 robotic emissaries to fly by some of the solar system's most intriguing and nomadic occupants -- comets and asteroids. The data and imagery collected ...

NASA in final preparations for Nov. 8 asteroid flyby

October 27, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA scientists will be tracking asteroid 2005 YU55 with antennas of the agency's Deep Space Network at Goldstone, Calif., as the space rock safely flies past Earth slightly closer than the moon's orbit on ...

Rare near-Earth asteroid fly-by set for Tuesday

November 3, 2011

A massive asteroid will make a rare fly-by Tuesday, and although it poses no danger of crashing to Earth, US scientists said this week they are looking forward to getting a closer look.

Recommended for you

New Horizons team selects potential Kuiper Belt flyby target

August 29, 2015

NASA has selected the potential next destination for the New Horizons mission to visit after its historic July 14 flyby of the Pluto system. The destination is a small Kuiper Belt object (KBO) known as 2014 MU69 that orbits ...

Prawn Nebula: Cosmic recycling

September 2, 2015

Dominating this image is part of the nebula Gum 56, illuminated by the hot bright young stars that were born within it. For millions of years stars have been created out of the gas in this nebula, material which is later ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.