Asteroid Watch: You Can Track Asteroid Passing Earth

Asteroid

First Posted: 04/11/11 10:12 Updated: 07/11/11 09:57

Asteroid 2005 YU55 is the not-so catchy name of the rock that will hurtle past Earth on November 8. If you're into space, then pay attention, because you can see it with your at-home telescope and there won't be anything similar coming this way until 2028.

The 400 meter-wide rock will cruise 324,600 kilometres from earth, between us and the moon. That's the closest it has travelled to the earth in 200 years.

Asteroid 2005 YU55 is a frequent visitor to our galactic neighbourhood. Its orbit brings it into the vicinity of Earth, Venus and Mars regularly, though this year's encounter with Earth is the closest this space rock has come since 1811.

In 2010 scientists learned that the asteroid is show is almost spherical, spins slowly on an 18 hour rotation and has a surface darker than charcoal.

Nasa says amateur astronomers who want to get a glimpse at YU55 will need a telescope with an aperture of 6 inches or larger.

During tracking, scientists will bounce radio waves off the rock to learn as much as they can about its surface features, shape, dimensions and other properties.

If you were worried about the danger of something as big as an aircraft hanger passing between us and the moon, don't be. Nasa have tracked its path well, plus another asteroid passed just 12,300 kilometres above Earth back in June, and we're all still here.

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