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03 November 2011

Flyby of huge Asteroid 2005 YU55 - 8 November 2011

Image: In April 2010, this radar image of the near-Earth asteroid 2005 YU55 was taken by the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico. CREDIT: NASA/Cornell/Arecibo



On the 8 November, an asteroid the size of an aircraft carrier will zip by Earth inside the orbit of the moon, marking the closest pass by such a big asteroid in 35 years.

The near-Earth asteroid, which is called 2005 YU55, will make its closest approach at 6:28 p.m. EDT (2228 GMT) on 8 November 2011. Astronomers will start their concerted observation campaign even earlier, training a battery of instruments on 2005 YU55 beginning this Friday (4 November 2011) to learn as much as possible about the asteroid before it recedes into deep space again.

This asteroid is roughly 400 meters wide. (Nearly four football fields across)

At its closest approach, the asteroid will pass within 325,000 kilometers of Earth. The average distance between Earth and the moon is 386,242 km.

- NASA