Huge asteroid on track to pass close to Earth overnight

By: Natalie Dreier, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Updated:

The night sky may be giving space enthusiasts another show. This time a huge asteroid will pass by the Earth.

The space rock, nicknamed Florence, is about 2.7 miles wide, according to Space.com. Scientists with NASA say it’s the largest object to fly that close to our planet since the space agency started tracking near-Earth asteroids.

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And while it’s being characterized as a close pass to Earth, it will still be about 4.4 million miles away when it makes its closest pass Friday.

Despite it being millions of miles away, sky watchers will be able to see the asteroid as it zooms past.

 

 

Sky & Telescope magazine has created charts to help those interested track the asteroid’s path in the sky, CNET reported.

If you don’t have access to a telescope of your own, you can observe the spectacle from the comfort of your own computer thanks to the Virtual Telescope program.

NASA will be using radar images to measure and examine Florence, zooming in to the details of the massive rock, Forbes reported.

Florence was named after famed nurse Florence Nightingale and was discovered by Schelte “Bobby” Bus. He was working at Siding Spring Observatory in Australia at the time, Newsweek reported.

The International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center has categorized the asteroid as “potentially hazardous” but they stress that it does not pose a risk to Earth.

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