Dead comet with skull face to hurtle by Earth on Halloween

October 31, 2015
A massive space rock that will shave by Earth on Halloween looks like a dead comet with a skull face, NASA says

A massive space rock that will shave by Earth on Halloween looks like a dead comet with a skull face, NASA said after gaining a closer look at the spooky space object.

Astronomers initially thought the object was an asteroid when they spotted it in early October, and named it Asteroid 2015 TB145.

But using the US agency's Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, experts "have determined that the celestial is more than likely a dead comet that has shed its volatiles after numerous passes around the sun," NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a statement late Friday.

Scientists have also spotted an eerie skull-like resemblance on the face of the rock, based on radar data from the National Science Foundation's 305-meter (1,000-foot) Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.

"In the Arecibo images it appears to have donned a skull costume for its Halloween flyby," said Kelly Fast, IRTF program scientist at NASA and acting program manager for the US 's Near-Earth Object Observations Program.

The space has already grabbed attention with its unusually high speed and big size, about as large as a football stadium at 2,000 feet (600 meters) in diameter.

There is no danger of it hitting Earth, however.

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A short video of the asteroid prepared using Arecibo Observatory radar images. Credit NAIC-Arecibo/NSF

When it zips by Saturday at 1 pm (1700 GMT), it will do so at a distance of 302,000 miles (486,000 kilometers).

That's about 1.3 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon.

The comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, taken on September 19 when Rosetta was 28.6 km from the comet

Explore further: Halloween asteroid to shave past Earth, astronomers say

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7 comments

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Jeweller
5 / 5 (1) Oct 31, 2015
Crossbones to follow
AGreatWhopper
2.3 / 5 (3) Oct 31, 2015
It's actually the face of Australian cricket commentator Kerry O'Keefe. He'll admit as much.

I wonder if it laughs like "Mutley"? https://www.youtu...zw6Mhrhs
antigoracle
1 / 5 (2) Oct 31, 2015
Still doesn't beat the shit-faced comet. http://phys.org/n...gar.html
philstacy9
not rated yet Oct 31, 2015
22 miles per second
Egleton
not rated yet Nov 01, 2015
35405.6 m/sec
someone11235813
not rated yet Nov 01, 2015
When it zips by Saturday at 1 pm (1700 GMT), it will do so at a distance of 302,000 miles (486,000 kilometers).


I'll surely feel the draught as it zips by.
ScottyB
not rated yet Nov 03, 2015
Gelf space: Do not enter!

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