Christmas Eve: Asteroid to fly close to Earth ‘Details’

Christmas Eve: asteroid to fly close to Earth - Details
Christmas Eve: asteroid to fly close to Earth - Details

A huge asteroid is set to fly close to earth on Christmas Eve.

Asteroid 2003 SD220, also known as asteroid 163899, is scheduled to make its closest approach to Earth on Christmas Eve, a.k.a. December 24, 2015. At more than 28 times the moon’s distance, NASA says it’s nothing to worry about.

Discovered back in 2003, the object is slated to skim past Earth at a very comfortable distance of 6,700,000 miles (around 11 million km), or 0.074 AU. At that distance, it will only be visible to professional and amateur astronomers, who should be able to capture optimal images of the giant space rock.

Perhaps the only remarkable thing about asteroid 2003 SD220, aside from its Christmas visit, is its size. Early estimates placed it between 0.7 to 1.5 miles (1.1 to 2.5 km) in length, but more recent observations place it around 1.25 miles (2 km ). Asteroid 2003 SD220 is currently moving at a speed of 17.5 miles/second, and appears to exhibit a very slow rotation of about one week.

The object, which kind of resembles a pickle or a chicken finger, will make its next return in 2018. NASA says the object won’t pose a threat to Earth for at least the next two centuries.

Sportact Editors and Wire Services