Huge asteroid to whip past Earth on Monday

January 21, 2015 byMarcia Dunn
An artist's impression of an asteroid breaking up. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

An asteroid up to 1,800 feet (550 meters) across is headed Earth's way. But don't worry: It will miss us by 745,000 miles, about three times the distance between Earth and the moon.

Still, that's close for such a large rock.

NASA scientists say asteroid 2004 BL86 will come closest Monday. That will be the nearest the asteroid gets for another 200 years. And it will be the closest known encounter by such a giant space rock until another mega-asteroid flies by in 2027.

It was discovered in 2004 and is estimated to be about one-third of a mile in size, or between 1,600 and 1,800 feet.

Amateur astronomers across North America should be able to see it with telescopes and binoculars.

Explore further: Asteroid to fly by Earth safely on January 26

More information: www.jpl.nasa.gov/asteroidwatch/

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4 comments

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foolspoo
2 / 5 (4) Jan 21, 2015
"That will be the nearest the asteroid gets for another 200 years"

should avoid such presumptions. or at least be sure to include qualifiers such as "scheduled" and "known." our tech can not identify these tiny rocks at such great distances that 200 years would allow.
dramamoose
3.3 / 5 (3) Jan 21, 2015
Reread that sentence. We know fully well when this asteroid will be here again. The following sentence answers your concerns precisely: "And it will be the closest known encounter by such a giant space rock until another mega-asteroid flies by in 2027."

Keyword is known.
Skepticus
1.5 / 5 (8) Jan 21, 2015
Too bad it will miss. A direct hit in ME will solve quite a few problems:
1- Over population. Over exploited Earth can do with 1 billions less.
2- Reliance on ME oil and all the shits that happened there and the consequences everywhere else, to keep it going.
3- Getting rid of all those nutcase religious fundamentalists, and giving those survive pause to ponder whether it's a punishment from God for the errors of their ways.
4- Providing a mini-nuclear winter to cool the planet for awhile.
5- provide jobs for reconstructions and opportunities for geo-polictics changes.
6- Providing inspirations for lots more disaster movies that will help the economy.
7- A slap in the face for all those congenital optimists that nothing ever bad will happen to this planet, and stimulate change in their village idiots attitude.

I can't wait for a big one!
Mimath224
5 / 5 (1) Jan 21, 2015
@Skepticus, well I'm not with you mate If you can't wait for the '..big one!' you must be a '...congenital' pessimist. Having said that, I wonder if the general public would be told of an apocalyptic event until it was 'too late'

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