An Asteroid with Its Own Moon Will Zip Past Earth Tonight

Credit: Dr. Steven Ostro et al./NASA A very big asteroid with its own little moon is going to zip past Earth tonight (May 25) — close enough that, with some preparation and a decent telescope, amateur astronomers may spot it blotting out the stars.

The two asteroids will pass closest to Earth at 7:05 pm EDT (1105 GMT), when they'll be just 3,219,955 miles (5,182,015 km) from the planet's surface.

Credit: Dr. Steven Ostro et al./NASA Back on May 25, 2001, according to NASA , the asteroids passed about 6.7% closer to Earth than they will this time, at a distance of 3,005,447 miles (4,836,798 km).

Seventeen years from now, on May 25, 2036, the rocks will pass 55.2% closer to Earth, at a distance of just 1,443,511 miles (2,323,106 km) — again, posing no threat worth worrying about.

The two asteroids have passed even closer to Earth, without incident , several times a century since William Shakespeare was writing, and they will continue to do so until this article is at least 500 years old.

EarthSky reported that during the space rocks' closest approach, they'll be most visible in the Southern Hemisphere, appearing as fast-moving shadows against stars in the constellation Puppis.

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