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400-metre wide asteroid passes Earth

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An asteroid, more than a quarter mile (400 meters) wide, passed by Earth on Wednesday (April 19), zooming by at a distance of just over a million miles (1.8 million km), but with no chance of impact, according to NASA scientists.

Smaller asteroids routinely make closer passes to Earth, but 2014 J025, discovered in May 2014, will be the largest asteroid to come this near to the planet since 2004, flying by at only about 4.6 times the distance from the Earth to the Moon, 1.1 million miles (1.8 million km).

The asteroid, estimated to be between one-quarter and three-quarters of a mile (600-1,400 meters) wide and twice as reflective as the Moon, won’t be visible to the naked eye, but sky watchers should be able to view it with home telescopes for one or two nights starting on Wednesday.

The approach of J025 will be the asteroid’s closest for at least the next 500 years. In 2004, the 3.1-mile (5-km) wide asteroid Toutatis passed about four lunar distances, or just under a million miles (1.6 million km) from Earth.

IANS

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