Giant Asteroid Headed Toward Earth Will Be Visible With Binoculars

CBS San Francisco

(CBS SF) — An asteroid a third of a mile wide is poised to soar past the Earth on Jan. 26 — the closest any known space rock this size is expected to fly by until 2027.

NASA estimates the asteroid will safely pass about three times the distance of Earth to the moon, or about 745,000 miles. That’s close enough for amateur astronomers to observe the hunk of rock with small telescopes and strong binoculars.

“While it poses no threat to Earth for the foreseeable future, it’s a relatively close approach by a relatively large asteroid, so it provides us a unique opportunity to observe and learn more,” NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program said in a statement.

Scientists at NASA’s Deep Space Network antenna in Goldstone, Calif., and at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico plan learn more about the asteroid, called 2004 BL86, with radar-generated images during the…

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