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Asteroid: To Pass Earth Today

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This radar image of asteroid 2005 YU55 was obtained on Nov. 7, 2011, at 11:45 a.m. PST (2:45 p.m. EST/1945 UTC). Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
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This radar image of asteroid 2005 YU55 was obtained on Nov. 7, 2011, at 11:45 a.m. PST (2:45 p.m. EST/1945 UTC). Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

An asteroid will fly past our planet later today, flying closer to Earth than the moon’s orbit—Reportedly, the last time an asteroid of this size came this close was back in the 1970s.

Asteroid 2005 YU55, the size of an aircraft carrier, will make its closest approach to Earth at 6:28 p.m.

According to NASA, the trajectory of asteroid is well understood and the space rock will be no closer than 201,700 miles from the center of Earth at its closest.

NASA also reported that the gravitational influence of the asteroid will have no effect on Earth, including tides and tectonic plates.

Tuesday. Monday at 2:45 p.m., the asteroid was recorded at approximately 860,000 miles away from Earth.

Radar observations began today in Puerto Rico from the Arecibo Planetary Radar Facility and will continue throughout the day as the large asteroid passes by the planet—Scientists began tracking the asteroid closely Friday and have tracked it for at least four hours everyday since.

NASA’s The Near-Earth Object Observations Program in Pasadena, Calif., discovers asteroids and plots their orbits to determine if any could be potentially hazardous to our planet.

Reportedly, the asteroid is in an orbit that frequents the vicinity of Earth, Venus and Mars, but this encounter will be the closest it has come for at least the last 200 years.

The next known approach, according to NASA, will be in 2028.

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