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‘Extremely Eccentric’ Asteroid to Zoom Past Earth on Halloween

posted: 10/30/15
by: Danny Clemens
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A recently-discovered asteroid dubbed the 'Great Pumpkin' is expected to whiz curiously close to Earth on Halloween, NASA has announced.

The large asteroid, 2015 TB145, will pass Earth at 1.3 times the moon's distance (approximately 310,000 miles). 2015 TB145's pass is the closest of any object its size since 2006; not until August 2027 will another large object pass so close to Earth.

2015 TB145's closest approach will occur at 1:01 p.m. EST on Oct. 31, 2015.

"The trajectory of 2015 TB145 is well understood," Paul Chodas, manager of NASA's Center for Near Earth Object Studies explains in a news release. "Even though that is relatively close by celestial standards, it is expected to be fairly faint, so night-sky Earth observers would need at least a small telescope to view it."

Asteroid and Earth near impact
sdecoret/iStock

"The flyby presents a truly outstanding scientific opportunity to study the physical properties of this object," astronomers write on NASA's website. They also note that the object has been observed to have an "extremely eccentric [...] high inclination orbit."

Despite its eerie timing and close trajectory, the asteroid poses no threat to Earth.

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