Giant Asteroid to Pass Between Earth, Moon

Earth will have a new neighbor this week when a giant-sized asteroid zips by. 2005 YU55 will travel between Earth and the moon, coming within 202,000 miles of our planet on Tuesday night.

Scientists say the asteroid measures about 1,300 feet long or about the same size as a military aircraft carrier.

“This is the closest approach by an asteroid that large that we’ve ever known about in advance,” said Lance Benner with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

But experts say you won’t be able to see the asteroid unless you have a telescope with at least a 6-inch mirror.

“The stars that you can see in the sky, in a very dark environment, would be a six magnitude. This is going to be an eleventh magnitude. It’s going to be very, very faint,” said John O’Neill, the vice president for the St. Petersburg Astronomy Club.

If an asteroid the size of YU 55 were to hit Earth, scientists say it could wipe out a city the size of New York or trigger a 70-foot tall tsunami if it landed in the ocean.

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News Talk Florida Staff