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NASA just announced an unexpected asteroid flyby this Halloween

There is an unexpected friend coming towards Earth: asteroid 2015 TB145, a large chunk of rock that’s plunging through space at speed of some 126,000 km/h (78,293 mph) at this very moment. Discovered just 10 days ago, the asteroid has caught the consideration of researchers at NASA because on October 31, it’s anticipated to come closer to Earth than anything this size has since July 2006. But before you try reach for the keys to your Judgment Day bunker, relax. When I say "close", I mean relatively, which in this situation means 1.3 lunar distances, or nearly 499,000 km (310,000 miles) from Planet Earth. A recent NASA report states "This is the closest approach by a known object this large until 1999 AN10 approaches within 1 lunar distance in August 2027. The last approach closer than this ... was by 2004 XP14 in July 2006 at 1.1 lunar distances."
Image Credit: Mopic/Shutterstock.com

Spotted on October 10 by the Pan-STARRS I analysis in Hawaii, which employs numerous astronomical cameras and telescopes from around the world to detect potentially threatening near-Earth objects, this recently discovered asteroid is projected to be between 280 to 620 meters (918 to 2,034 ft) in diameter.  We’ve had closer encounters lately, but not by something of this size. In 2013, Russian motorists taped a 17-metre meteorite go up in flames in Earth’s atmosphere at a top speed of 19 km/s, and more than a century ago, a 40-metre meteorite crashed into a Russian forest. According to NASA, asteroid 2015 TB145 has a tremendously eccentric and high-inclination orbit, which Colin Jeffrey at Gizmag proposes might be the reason it was only just recently spotted (which is certainly a bit disturbing).

He adds that although it won’t be observable to the naked eye throughout its closest moments on Halloween, it would be noticeable to those lucky enough to have a good-quality amateur telescope.

It’s anticipated to pass through the constellation of Orion at about 17:18 UT on Saturday 31 October. That’s 5:18pm EDT and 3:18am AEST.

According to a recent report of NASA's Near-EarthObject Observations Program, as of 16 October 2015, 13, only 251 near-Earth objects have been discovered and 877 of which are asteroids with a diameter of almost 1 kilometre or larger. Some 1,635 of these have been categorized as Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs). 

According to NASA none of these will come close enough to hit Earth anytime in the predictable future. NASA reported back in August "All known Potentially Hazardous Asteroids have less than a 0.01 percent chance of impacting Earth in the next 100 years," 

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