NASA says Asteroid 2011 will have a close encounter with Earth on Monday. Astronomers say that 2011 is becoming an asteroid paradise for those that want to see it loop around the planet. However, there’s no need to worry.
The space agency’s Near-Earth Object Program Office says the Astroid 2011 MD will pass 7,500 miles above Earth’s surface over the southern Atlantic Ocean at about 6:30 a.m. PDT (1330 GMT).
Though it will come close, it’s not a distance record holder. Earlier this year, a tiny asteroid flew by even closer - within 3,400 miles.
Of the more than 8,000 Near-Earth objects that have been discovered to date, around 1,236 have been designated as potentially hazardous asteroids. This latest space rock measures 33 feet (10 meters) long and was discovered this week by telescopes in New Mexico. Scientists say asteroids this size sail past Earth every six years.
The asteroid will briefly be bright enough that medium-size telescopes may be able to spot it. However, it will not be easy to see. The space rock, which is relatively small, will be moving at a very fast clip. What’s more, it’s also expected to be very faint, making it hard to distinguish.
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