Asteroid 2005 YU55. Sounds harmless enough, but this asteroid -- the size of an aircraft carrier -- will pass between Earth and the moon Tuesday evening.
It will be a mere 200,000 miles away from us. That's closer than you want a rock of this size to be. If you were hoping to see it, It won't be visible to the naked eye. Instead, you will need a telescope at least six inches in diameter to see the giant asteroid approach from a sunward direction.
Is NASA worried?
They said there is no danger of a collision with Earth, but they did classify this asteroid as a "potentially hazardous object." That's because, said scientists, it will skip by our planet .8 lunar distances away.
What would happen if the asteroid hit us? Scientists said the results would be catastrophic. If something of this size were to hit Earth, it would cause a 4,000 megaton blast -- a magnitude 7.0 earthquake. And if it hit water, it would cause a 70-foot high tsunami that would spread within 60 miles of the crash site.
The last time a rock this big passed so close to Earth was in 1976. By the way, that asteroid was missed by everybody, including NASA.
NASA plans to study this asteroid intently using the super-sensitive Goldstone radar antennas in California’s Mojave Desert. A NASA spokesman said, 'We hope to obtain images that should reveal a wealth of detail about the asteroid's surface features, shape, dimensions and other physical properties."
The asteroid could give scientists valuable clues as to what it was like when our solar system was forming.
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