Another Close Shave, Astronomically Speaking

Astronomers around the world be keeping a close eye on a roughly 20-metre-wide (house sized) asteroid on Thursday as it flies well within the moon’s orbit, about 50,000 kilometres above Earth. While this asteroid currently poses no threat to Earth, it might the next time around and scientists are hoping to gather information to refine its orbit. They are also preparing for the day when a similarly sized asteroid could enter Earth’s atmosphere. Typically, asteroids this small are detected late, but this particular asteroid was found in 2012, and has garnered a lot of attention from the astronomical community. The next close pass of this particular asteroid will be in 2075. Using current observations, astronomers predict a chance of impact then, at only one in 2,000.

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