I’ll spare you yet another Back to the Future post and instead bring you the Cosmos’ continued efforts to destroy life on Earth. Lucky you!
A large asteroid first discovered by scientists only two weeks ago is set to scream past Earth on Halloween in the closest encounter our planet has had with an asteroid in nearly a decade.
While the asteroid, named 2015 TB145, does not posea threat, it will come within 310,000 miles of Earth (nearly as close as our moon) and zoom past at an “unusually high” speed of more than 78,000 miles per hour, according to NASA.
The asteroid was spotted on Oct. 10 by the Pan-STARRS I telescope, located atop the Hawaiian island of Maui and used to discover and characterize objects that might pose a treat to Earth.
In its report, NASA said the flyby presents a “truly outstanding scientific opportunity to study the physical properties of this object.”
Preliminary estimates indicate 2015 TB145 is about 1,542 feet in diameter — 28 times larger than the Chelyabinsk meteor that penetrated the atmosphere over Russia in 2013. It will travel across the constellation of Orion on the night of Oct. 30-31, with its closest approach of 1.3 lunar distances to Earth occurring around 11:14 a.m. ET on Oct. 31.
The asteroid won’t be visible to the naked eye, however amateur astronomers may be able to see it using telescopes eight inches in diameter or larger.