Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Potentially Hazardous 3 Mile Wide Asteroid to Zoom By Earth | VIDEO

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Asteroid Toutatis

By Keerthi Chandrashekar

     Doomsday fetishists rejoice. It seems that a giant asteroid will be passing relatively close to Earth on the night of Tuesday, Dec. 11. The asteroid is expected to come as close as 4.3-million miles from our planet Earth.

The 3-mile wide asteroid is roughly half the size of the asteroid believed to have killed off the dinosaurs and is shaped like a peanut. Named 4179 Toutatis, the asteroid is currently listed as a potentially hazardous space object, whose collision with Earth would have dramatic consequences.

Don't worry though, at 4.3-million miles, Toutatis will be 18 times the distance between the Earth and the moon (lunar distances), and scientists agree the chances of a collision are incredibly slim. The only long-term issue is that Toutatis operates on a slightly chaotic orbit, making it difficult to predict the distant future.

The Slooh Space Camera held a live stream of the asteroid's passing.

"We will be tracking Asteroid Toutatis live from two observatory locations - Canary Islands, off the coast of Africa and Arizona," president of Slooh Patrick Paolucci said. . . .

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