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article imageNASA to track asteroid as it flies past Earth Nov. 8

By David Silverberg     Oct 27, 2011 in Science
NASA will track the path of asteroid 2005 YU55 as it safely zooms past Earth slightly closer than the moon's orbit on Nov. 8. That day, the asteroid will make its closest approach to Earth at 3:28 p.m. PST.
NASA scientists are considering the flyby of the 1,300-foot-wide asteroid as an opportunity to learn more about the asteroid's chemical composition. They plan to study the asteroid's surface features, shape, dimensions and other physical traits.
In a release, NASA says the space rock "will be no closer than 201,700 miles (324,600 kilometers) or 0.85 the distance from the moon to Earth." The last time an asteroid was this close to Earth was in 1976. The next known approach of an asteroid of this size will be in 2028.
NASA plans to tracking the asteroid on Nov. 4 via the Deep Space Network antenna. 2005 YU55 won't escape sight for at least four hours each day from Nov. 6 through Nov. 10.
The release states: "Radar observations from the Arecibo Planetary Radar Facility in Puerto Rico will begin on Nov. 8, the same day the asteroid will make its closest approach to Earth at 3:28 p.m. PST."
Amateur astronomers who want to check out the asteroid will need a telescope with an aperture of 6 inches or large.
In July, NASA found an asteroid circling the sun near Earth's orbit. Earlier that month, new images of the Vesta asteroid revealed information on the origin of many meteorites
More about NASA, Asteroid, 2005 YU55, Space, Galaxy
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