Rare asteroid will fly by Earth on Tuesday evening

November 7, 2011

The biggest asteroid to cruise by Earth in 35 years will make its closest approach Tuesday at 6:28 p.m.

Scientists say there is no danger. The 1,200-foot-long charcoal-black space rock, called 2005 YU55, will come no closer than 200,000 miles, just inside the orbit of the moon.

It is too faint to see with the naked eye, but backyard astronomers can spy the asteroid with six-inch or larger telescopes as the nearly spherical rock zooms across the constellations Aquila and Pegasus.

Astronomer Robert McMillan of the SpaceWatch project discovered the asteroid six years ago during a routine sky scan. NASA spends about $5 million each year searching for asteroids that could potentially crash into Earth.

Although no threats have been found, McMillan said, “there’s way more work to be done. Near-Earth objects are something the whole world should be concerned about.”

Comments
Show Comments
Most Read National