Australia Day asteroid to fly by

Asteroid 2004 BL86, will pass by the planet at a distance of 745,000km.
Asteroid 2004 BL86, will pass by the planet at a distance of 745,000km.

AMATEUR astronomers may be able to spend their Australia Day weekend looking for an asteroid expected to pass by Earth.

The asteroid, 2004 BL86, will pass by the planet at about three times the distance of the moon and could be visible with a small telescope.

America's NASA near-Earth object program predicted it would be the only asteroid to pass by Earth this closely until the next one passes in 2027.

The asteroid poses no risk to the planet and will give amateur and professional astronomers a rare chance to monitor its progress more closely.

The asteroid was first identified in 2004, hence its name of 2004 BL86, and was not expected to pass Earth again for another 200 years.

Estimates were that it was expected to pass by Earth at a distance of 745,000km and would be large enough to see with a telescope.


Topics:  science space

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