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Hallowe’en asteroid highlights need to ‘watch for space rocks’ says ESA

Halloween, according to some, is a time to be afraid.

And the thought of an asteroid four times the size of a football pitch passing by earth is enough for at least a little bit of fear!

But astronomers say no one need fear asteroid 2015 TB145, an object some 400 metres across.

It is currently passing safely by at this precise moment!

But according to the European Space Agency, the flyby highlights the need to watch for space rocks.

The asteroid passes by earth at just 480 000km, which is further away from earth than the moon, but which is a close pass on a cosmic scale!

It is travelling at about 35 km/s with respect to Earth – higher than the typical encounter speed of near-earth asteroids.

“The fact that such a large near-Earth object (NEO), capable of doing significant damage if it were to strike our planet, was discovered only 21 days before closest approach demonstrates the necessity for keeping daily watch of the night sky,” says Detlef Koschny, in ESA’s Space Situational Awareness office.

The European Space Agency says there is no chance that the asteroid will hit our planet, neither now nor in the next 100 years “at least”.

Picture: An artist’s impression of an asteroid approaching earth. Picture credit NASA.

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