A fast-moving asteroid the size of a city block gave Earth a close shave on Tuesday, zooming safely past at 6:05 p.m. EDT at a distance of about 126,000 miles. That’s about half the distance from the Earth to the moon and the closest approach the asteroid has made in nearly 300 years, EarthSky.org reported.
The space rock, known as 2010 WC9, was moving at almost 29,000 miles per hour as it passed. It has a diameter of 60 to 134 meters, or roughly 200 to 400 feet — “as big across as a city block,” Dr. Erin Ryan, an asteroid expert at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, told NBC News MACH in an email.
Big as it is, the asteroid was too faint to be seen with the naked eye even during the flyby. But Northolt Branch Observatories, an astronomy group in London, England, livestreamed telescopic views of the asteroid on its Facebook page in the days leading up to the flyby.
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