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Massive Asteroid Will Fly Close to Earth This Christmas Eve

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A huge asteroid is expected to fly close to the Earth come Christmas Eve this year.

Doomsayers and conspiracy theorists predict the massive asteroid called 2003 SD220 may potentially cause earthquakes and volcanic eruptions on Earth. That’s unlikely going to happen, since the asteroid will be around 6.7million miles away – 28 times further away than the moon.

According to experts, the asteroid is so huge it can possibly wipe out an entire continent in the event of a direct hit. Fortunately, that would not happen since the rock wouldn’t be entering the planet’s atmosphere.

The 1.5-mile wide asteroid is being closely monitored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) along with other astronomy experts because of its close proximity to Earth. The space organization have even issued a statement regarding it.

Asteroid 2003 SD220 as photographed by NASA’s team.

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Photo credit: NASA

According to NASA:

“We propose radar imaging, physical characterization, and orbit refinement of our 17 highest-priority NEAs for the calendar year 2015 using 294 hours.

“Radar is arguably the most powerful Earth-based technique for post-discovery physical and dynamical characterization of near-Earth asteroids (NEAs).

“Over the long term, our observations will help answer fundamental questions regarding the origin of the diversity in asteroid morphologies, the importance of spin-up mechanisms and collisional influences, the interior structure and thermal properties of asteroids, and the variety of dynamical states.”

Some earlier photos of the asteroid taken this month.

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Photo credit: NASA

Although the 2003 SD220 is expected to miss Earth by 6.7 million miles, some experts are worrying that it may change its course due to this effect called the Yarkovsky drift.

The space rock, currently traveling at 17.5 miles per second, is one of the 17 asteroids on the watch list of NASA that are moving close to Earth. It can already be seen via radio telescopes but despite its large size, it can only be seen on Christmas eve if you use specialist telescopes.

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H/T: Metro

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