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article imageLarge asteroid 2005 YU55 paying close visit to Earth in November

By Igor I. Solar     Apr 9, 2011 in Science
Pasadena - NASA’s Near Earth Objects Program (NEO) detected a large asteroid known as 2005 YU55 approaching Earth to about 0.85 lunar distances (200,000 kilometres) on November 8 and 9, 2011.
Discovered by Robert McMillan on December 28, 2005, asteroid 2005 YU55 is about 400 meters in diameter and will pay a close visit to our planet between November 8 and 9, 2011. The event offers astronomers around the world a unique opportunity to study the wandering big rock which may be seen and analyzed from observatories in the northern and southern hemispheres.
A few hours after passing through the Earth's orbit, 2005 YU55 will be optically accessible, but NASA experts say its observation will be a difficult task due to its high speed.
Although 0.85 lunar distances is very close in astronomical terms, the proximity of the asteroid poses no threat to Earth. Based on the Torino Scale the impact risk of 2005 YU55 was rated as 1 in February 2010, but it was downgraded to 0 on April 2010. For an object of Level 0:
"The likelihood of a collision is zero, or is so low as to be effectively zero. Also applies to small objects such as meteors and bodies that burn up in the atmosphere as well as infrequent meteorite falls that rarely cause damage."
According to the report of astronomers Don Yeomans, Lance Benner and Jon Giorgini this is the largest object coming so close to Earth to date. An asteroid visit as close as this one is not expected to happen again until 2028, when asteroid 2001 WN5 will come within 0.6 lunar distances.
An animated diagram of the trajectory of the asteroid in its pass near Earth in Nov. 8-9, 2011 can be seen here.
The video below shows several of the potentially harmful asteroids coming close to Earth within the next few years. The approximation of 2005 YU55 in Nov. 8-9, 2011, occurs around 0:15-0:16.
More about Asteroid, 2005 YU55, Asteroid threat, NASA, NEO
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