Earth's Close Encounter With A Giant Asteroid Happens Tonight!

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The last few months have been quite exciting for Space scientists. First there were the two free falling satellites and now there is a giant asteroid that is making its way towards earth.

The good news is that there is no danger that the 1,300 feet-wide space rock called 2005 YU55, will hit Earth. However, the asteroid, which is traveling at about 29,000mph is expected to get pretty close - To within 201,000 miles away from us at 6.28pm EST today. To put it in perspective, that is closer than the moon, which orbits at a distance of about 238,000 miles.

The last time a space rock came this close to earth was in 1976, when a smaller asteroid called XC15 performed a similar flyby. Unfortunately, all the experts including US Space Agency NASA, missed it. This, combined with the fact that the next close encounter is not expected to happen until 2028, makes today's flyby quite special.

NASA has been tracking the asteroid with the powerful antennas at the Deep Space Network in Goldstone, California and the Arecibo Planetary Radar Facility in Puerto Rico. As it gets closer, they will bounce radio waves off the space rock, to try obtain images that are clear enough to get some insights about the asteroid's surface features, shape, dimensions etc.

Unfortunately, budding astronauts hoping to get a glimpse of this giant rock will be out of luck. While the space rock will definitely not be visible without a telescope, even those with one may have a hard time, thanks to the fact that 2005 YU55 is pretty dim and tough to spot - And, the almost full moon makes it even worse. Also, given that it will move rather quickly, covering about 70 degrees in just 10 hours, they will have to know exactly where to look.

First spotted by an Arizona-based astronomer about six years ago, 2005 YU55 is a pitch-black asteroid that spins slowly in space. The last time it came this close, was about 200 years ago - Let's hope it keeps up the same pace and distance in the future.

Resources: cbsnews.com, washingtonpost.com, dailymail.co.uk

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206 Comments
  • Me name is jeffMonday, February 13, 2017 at 10:07 am
    AWESOME!!!!!!!
    • atroidsunzzThursday, February 9, 2017 at 6:48 am
      dun dun duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuun!! very scary encounter
      • guyWednesday, February 8, 2017 at 8:39 am
        Thy is awsome
        • MINECRAFTERSunday, May 22, 2016 at 12:43 pm
          LOL AWESOME!!!
          • casechoice
            casechoiceTuesday, November 24, 2015 at 2:28 pm
            Cool scary and dangerous!
            • minecrafter22Tuesday, November 25, 2014 at 12:37 pm
              why shall live!!!!
              • shivi483
                shivi483Monday, September 29, 2014 at 2:20 pm
                This is a good facts about the astroid because if we didn't know that it was coming we were done like the dinosaurs were extinct by an astroid that hit Mexico and made the whole island out of ice.
                • casechoice
                  casechoiceTuesday, November 24, 2015 at 2:34 pm
                  good that you think that was good fact
                • LolzSaturday, December 22, 2012 at 10:09 pm
                  Yay the world didn't end! We are so blessed!
                  • ReliableTuesday, November 6, 2012 at 7:09 pm
                    I think that this astroid is going to be very tremendous and no one needs to be scared. It states pacificly in the article that ,"However, the asteroid, which is traveling at about 29,000mph is expected to get pretty close - To within 201,000 miles away from us." Which means it is not going to hit ground. My parents have been though an astroid before,well I think most of us have. So dont be a scaredy cat. Just dont even worry about it.
                    • baseballplayer
                      baseballplayerWednesday, October 24, 2012 at 4:31 pm
                      cool ,but scary