Aircraft Carrier-Sized Asteroid Set To Fly By Earth; Largest Since 1976
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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A massive asteroid is expected to make a fly-by of our planet Tuesday, but NASA experts warn there is no chance of any impact with the Earth.
The aircraft carrier-sized space rock known as asteroid 2005 YU55 will pass between our orbit and the Moon at approximately 3:28 p.m. tomorrow afternoon.
On average, the distance between the moon and Earth is about 238,854 miles — and YU55 is expected to sail harmlessly through that gap.
With an estimated span of 1,300 feet, YU55 is the largest space rock to have a close encounter with Earth with advance notice in 35 years.
Since astronomers expect the asteroid to approach the planet from the direction of the sun, skywatchers may have their best chance to view the object late in the day of Nov. 8.
Despite reassurances from NASA, the flyby has spawned countless theories on whether YU55 will actually impact the moon or come close enough to the Earth to trigger tsunami waves.
Such theories are being fueled by the first-ever nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System coinciding with a massive multinational tsunami drill set to take place across the Pacific Rim on Nov. 9-10.
One official with NASA, however, denies the flyby poses any significant risk to the planet.
“There will not be any gravitational interaction that will affect anything on the Earth’s surface,” he said. “It’s just too small of any object going by too quickly.”
To watch the asteroid, click here.