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Asteroid To Pass Earth But IT Will Be Close

There’s no chance it will strike Earth, NASA says, but a bus-sized asteroid is whizzing by Earth today just 7,600 miles away — a close call on the cosmic scale.

It’s called asteroid “2011 MD” and it’s nearest Earth just after noon, about 1 p.m., according to NASA estimates. (Original estimates put it at 9:30 a.m., but even asteroid experts have to recalculate, sometimes.)

Julie Hoogland of the Grand Rapids Press writes it’s the fifth-closest recorded asteroid event, according to Minor Planet Center’s ranking charts. Space.com calls the fly-by ‘extremely close.”

“One would expect an object of this size to come this close to Earth about every 6 years on average,” according to NASA.

From certain locations in the southern hemisphere, the asteroid will be bright enough to briefly be seen with a modest-sized telescope.

NASA has more information available at their “Asteroid Watch” page, and at the Near Earth Object Program. — which says the Earth’s impact on the asteroid will be to “Bend it Like Beckham.” Really. NASA said that.

E-mail Julie Hoogland: jhoogland@grpress.com and follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/JulieHoogland

 

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