Saturday, 15 April 2017 13:21

NASA scientists say Earth will have near-miss with Rock of Gibraltar-sized ASTEROID next week

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The 2014-J25 boulder will hurtle past the planet within 1.1 million miles - less than five times the distance to the moon

Earth will have a near-miss with an asteroid as big as the Rock of Gibraltar next week, astronomers claimed.

NASA scientists said the gigantic boulder, dubbed 2014-J25, will hurtle past Earth on April 19 within 1.1 million miles - less than five times the distance to the moon.

But despite the uncomfortably close distance, experts said there was no chance of a collision.

NASA said in a statement: "Although there is no possibility for the asteroid to collide with our planet, this will be a very close approach for an asteroid this size."

The asteroid is said to be as big as the Rock of Gibraltar (Photo: Getty Images)

The flyby has been billed by the US space agency as an "outstanding opportunity" for astronomers and amateur stargazers.

Experts said the asteroid should be visible with a small optical telescope for one or two nights before it moves out of range.

It added: "Astronomers plan to observe it with telescopes around the world to learn as much about it as possible."

    The asteroid will pass closest to our planet after a loop around the sun and then travel past Jupiter before heading back to the centre of the solar system.

    NASA say the asteroid will be visible with a telescope from Earth before it moves out of range (Photo: EyeEm)

    Smaller asteroids whizz by Earth several times a week but none this size have come as close as the 2014-JO25 since 2004 when the Toutatis rock passed within four lunar distances.

    The last time 2014-JO25 was in our immediate neighbourhood was 400 years ago, and it's next brush with Earth won't happen until sometime after 2600.

      It was discovered in May 2014 by astronomers at the Catalina Sky Survey near Tucson, Arizona.

      NASA predicted the next close encounter with a big rock will not happen before 2027, when the 800-metre wide asteroid 199-AN10 will fly by Earth at just one lunar distance, about 380,000 km (236,000 miles).

      Source : mirror.co.uk

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