Huge asteroid to fly close to Earth on Monday

NASA says asteroid could be seen with binoculars

Updated: 
Big Asteroid to Fly by Earth

A large asteroid is set to fly past Earth on Monday.

Asteroid 2004 BL86 will be the nearest an asteroid gets to our planet for another 200 years, scientists at NASA say. It will be the closest known encounter by such a giant space rock until a mega-asteroid flies by in 2027.

According to AP, the asteroid was discovered in 2004 and is estimated to be about one-third of a mile in size or up to 1,800 feet.

NASA said that amateur astronomers in North America could witness the asteroid using telescopes and binoculars.

In a press release, Don Yeomans, manager of NASA's Near Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said there was no need to worry about the asteroid and assured us we are safe.

"While it poses no threat to Earth for the foreseeable future, it's a relatively close approach by a relatively large asteroid, so it provides us a unique opportunity to observe and learn more," he said.

"Asteroids are something special. Not only did asteroids provide Earth with the building blocks of life and much of its water, but in the future, they will become valuable resources for mineral ores and other vital natural resources. They will also become the fuelling stops for humanity as we continue to explore our solar system. There is something about asteroids that makes me want to look up."

Yeomans added: "I may grab my favourite binoculars and give it a shot myself."

In May last year, an asteroid around the size of a double decker bus passed by closer to Earth than the orbit of the moon.

Although there are international teams of scientists and researchers constantly monitoring the sky for asteroid activity, astronomers at the Mt Lemmon Survey team had only discovered the asteroid, called 2014 HL129, a few days before it passed by our planet on 3 May 2014.

The space rock passed within 186,000 miles of Earth, which might sound a lot, but is within the Moon's orbit.

NASA scientists and researchers keep a constant look-out for potentially dangerous asteroids that could crash into the earth.


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