Nearest asteroid in decades flies by Earth
Nov 8, 2011, 23:43 GMT
Washington - An asteroid on Tuesday came closer to the Earth than any other large object since 1976, the US space agency NASA said.
The asteroid known as 2005 YU55 passed some 324,600 kilometers from Earth, or closer than the distance to the moon, at 2328 GMT, said Jet Propulsion Laboratory spokesman DC Agle.
No other asteroid of similar size will pass so close again until 2028, and astronomers were taking advantage of the opportunity to track and study the object. They hoped to take detailed images of the rock, which is about 400 metres across, using telescopes in California and Puerto Rico.
The asteroid regularly visits near the Earth, as well as Venus and Mars on its orbit around the sun, but this is the nearest it has come to our planet for at least 200 years.
The path of the asteroid was very clearly known and there was no danger that it would hit Earth or have any gravitational impact on the tides.