Asteroid to Whiz Past Earth

Space rock to be visible Tuesday even through amateur telescopes

By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser User

Posted Jan 25, 2008 9:49 AM CST

(Newser) – A big asteroid is set to speed past Earth on Tuesday night, and those with amateur telescopes will get a peek. NASA discovered the object in October, and scientists believe it's between 500 and 2,000 feet in diameter, LiveScience reports. It won't come closer than 334,000 miles to Earth; the impact of an asteroid of its size would be disastrous.

Aspiring astronomers are urged to take advantage, because the next asteroid to pass Earth's orbit isn't expected until 2027. Experts have identified only 7,000 of the asteroids that orbit the sun—most of which hang out in a belt between Mars and Jupiter. One could eventually head for Earth and cause a tsunami, but such an event only takes place every 37,000 years.

The asteroid, roughly the size of several football fields, will be visible through a modest-sized telescope the night of January 29.
The asteroid, roughly the size of several football fields, will be visible through a modest-sized telescope the night of January 29.   (Shutterstock.com)
  (Shutterstock.com)
  (Getty Images)
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