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Large asteroid to pass by earth on Christmas eve

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – A large object is expected to fly through the sky on Christmas Eve, and it’s not Santa and his reindeer. An asteroid is expected to fly by earth just in time for the holiday.

NASA reports that Asteroid 2003 SD220 will make its closest approach on December 24th. It will pass within 7 million miles from the Earth. That is 28 times the distance from the Earth to the moon.

The timing of the asteroid pass-by has some comparing it to Santa and the star of Bethlehem. You probably won’t be able to see the asteroid because it  isn’t visible with an amateur telescope. But scientists will be studying it.

The chicken tender shaped object is large for an asteroid, 1.25 miles across. Scientists are refuting rumors that it is big enough to cause earthquakes.

EarthSky explains:

“Even if 2003 SD220 were passing closer, it’s doubtful earthquakes would result. In fact, there’s no scientific evidence that an asteroid’s flyby can cause any seismic activity, unless it collides with Earth, but – in this case – that clearly will not be the case.”

The asteroid’s next pass near Earth is in 2018. NASA says it won’t come within a dangerous distance for at least 200 years.

2003-SD220-arecibo

 

Asteroid 163899 – aka 2003 SD220 – will pass safely, at more than 28 times the Earth-moon distance, on December 24, 2015.

Asteroid 163899 – aka 2003 SD220 – will pass safely, at more than 28 times the Earth-moon distance, on December 24, 2015.

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