In what will be our closest encounter with an asteroid in almost a decade, a large asteroid will zoom passed Earth on Halloween.
The rock known as 2015 TB145, which doesn’t pose a threat to our planet, will come within 500,000 kilometres of Earth – nearly as close as our own moon.
Two things are unusual about this asteroid. The first is its high speed of more than 120,000 kilometers an hour.
The second is that we only discovered it two weeks ago. The chunk of rock was spotted by the Pan-STARRS I telescope on 10 October.
The flyby is a “truly outstanding scientific opportunity to study the physical properties of this object,” according to NASA. “The asteroid is on an extremely eccentric and a high inclination orbit.”
“This is the closest approach by a known object this large until 1999 AN10 approaches within 1 lunar distance in August 2027.”
The space agency says 2015 TB145 is almost 500 metres in diameter, but won’t be visible to the naked eye.
The new asteroid flyby comes just weeks after Asteroid 86666 made its closest pass to Earth earlier this month.