Asteroid 2017 YD7 set for nail-biting close encounter with Earth tonight

jasper hamill

Planet Earth set for close encounter with an asteroid the size of a lorry tonight
Our planet is often visited by alarmingly large space rocks (Picture: Science Photo Library)

Humanity is set to experience yet another close encounter with a ‘potentially hazardous’ asteroid tonight.

But don’t worry, because the space rock is only about the size of a lorry and is due to speed harmlessly past our planet and back out into the void.

It was only discovered on December 28 and will zoom by at early tomorrow morning at 12.40am UK time.

The asteroid will travel past at almost five times the distance from the Earth to the moon, making it the closest approach of the month. It will speed by at 23,488 miles per hour.

Nasa describes asteroids as ‘hazardous’ if they come within 4,600,000 miles of Earth.

How to see Geminids meteor shower as Asteroid 3200 Phaethon‬‬ zooms by
Astronomers are always on the look out for asteroids which might endanger Earth (Photo: Yuri Smityuk/TASS/ PA)

The space rock is between six and 21 metres wide and was first spotted by the Mount Lemmon Survey (MLS) in Arizona.

The next close approach is expected to take places on 16 June 2155 where it will fly at around 16,700,000 miles from our planet.

This is a much further than the 238,855 million miles which separate the Earth and moon.

Scientists recently investigated a mysterious cigar-shaped asteroid which entered our solar system to see if it’s an alien probe.

MORE: Eerie skull-shaped ‘Halloween Death Asteroid’ will return to Earth this year

MORE: Did an alien probe enter our solar system?

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