Huge asteroid speeding towards Earth

Sat 16 December 2017 20:41 GMT | 00:41 Local Time

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A ‘Hazardous’ asteroid is hurtling towards Earth at 45,000mph and is set to reach us tomorrow, NASA confirmed, Daily Star reports.

The space rock, called 3200 Phaethon, is three-miles-wide and is expected to speed past us rather too closely for comfort.

It’s the third-largest of its kind on record to fly by our planet and will be close enough to be studied in detail by NASA.

It had previously been expected to reach Earth by Sunday but NASA instead revealed today it will hurtle past at 10pm on Saturday.

The asteroid will be around 6.4million miles away from our planet – 27 times the distance between the Earth and the moon.

NASA is gobsmacked by how close it is and will take incredibly detailed photographs of the giant rock.

The space agency said: “With a diameter of about 5km, Phaethon is the third largest near-Earth asteroid classified as ‘Potentially Hazardous’.

“Phaethon will approach within 0.069 au of Earth on 2017 December 16 when it will be a strong radar imaging target at Goldstone and Arecibo."

It added: “This will be the best opportunity to date for radar observations of this asteroid and we hope to obtain detailed images.

“The images should be excellent for obtaining a detailed 3D model.”




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