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Halloween asteroid to shave past Earth, astronomers say

/ 08:01 AM October 22, 2015
Asteroid

A graphic provided by Nasa depicts the orbit of asteroid 2015 TB145 (top line). The asteroid will safely fly past Earth slightly farther out than the moon’s orbit on Oct. 31 at 10:05 a.m. Pacific (1:05 p.m. EDT and 17:05 UTC). NASA/JPL-CALTECH

MIAMI, United States — A big asteroid is hurtling toward Earth and will shave past our planet on Halloween, but astronomers say there’s no need to be spooked — it’s definitely not on a collision course.

The space rock is about the size of a football stadium and is moving at an “unusually high” speed of 78,000 miles per hour (126,000 kilometers per hour), said NASA.

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Early estimates put the asteroid — called 2015 TB145 — at about 1,542 feet (470 meters) in diameter, according to the astronomy website Earth and Sky.

NASA expects it to be the largest known cosmic body to get near our planet until 2027.

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“If the size is correct, the new found asteroid is 28 times bigger than the Chelyabinsk meteor that penetrated the atmosphere over Russia in February 2013,” Earth and Sky said.

The good news is this asteroid will pass at a very safe distance of about 310,000 miles (nearly 500,000 kilometers), or 1.3 times the span between the Earth and the Moon.

The asteroid will actually pass closer to the Moon than the Earth, skimming by at a distance of 180,000 miles.

Astronomers may be able to spot it with telescopes, though amateur skywatchers will likely not be able to see it with the naked eye.

The time of the closest pass is 11:14 am US Eastern time (1514 GMT) on October 31.

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TOPICS: 2015 TB145, Asteroid, Halloween, near-earth object
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