Giant Asteroid Flying Near Earth; Closest Flyby Since 1976

Giant Asteroid Flying Near Earth

Giant Asteroid Flying Near Earth

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Nov. 8 2011 3:43 PM

Giant Asteroid Flying Near Earth; Closest Flyby Since 1976

An asteroid about as tall at the Empire State Building is approaching Earth's atmosphere. Astronomers say a space rock of its size hasn’t come as close to Earth since 1976.

Classified as 2005 YU55, the asteroid's close proximity will allow scientists to study it, though they say there’s no risk of a collision with Earth.  2005 YU55 has a carbon-rich composition similar to the asteroids that collided with amino-acid filled meteorites during Earth's early development, paving the way for life forms on our planet. 

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The asteroid will come closest to Earth at about 6:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time today, Nov. 8, but will be hard to spot unless you have a telescope with an aperture of at least 6 inches.