Asteroid To Pass Close to Earth Monday


So with multiple wars, a weak economy, extreme weather events and Michaele Salahi's singing already weighing heavily on us, you'd think things couldn't get much worse.

Then, you read this on Space.com: "A small asteroid the size of a tour bus will make an extremely close pass by the Earth."


The close shave will occur Monday morning, according to Joe Rao of New York's Hayden Planetarium.

But there is good news -- Rao says the asteroid poses no threat to Earth.


The asteroid is expected to be closest at 9:26 a.m. Monday. That's when it will pass just over 7,500 miles above Earth's surface -- most likely off the coast of Antarctica. You probably won't be able to see it, however. Because of its size and how fast it will travel, only "moderately large amateur telescopes" will be able to catch it. And even then you'd need an "excellent star atlas."

Oh, and if it did somehow manage to enter our atmosphere, it would more than likely break up and not reach the ground.

Perhaps the scariest part of all this, however -- the asteroid wasn't even discovered until Wednesday. Best estimates say the asteroid is between 29 and 98 feet wide, according to Space.com.

How often do events like this happen? Experts say about every six years or so.

Space.com said an asteroid came even closer earlier this year, when one zoomed to within 3,400 miles of Earth on Feb. 4.

For a cool history of near-Earth asteroids, click here.

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