A huge asteroid that will creep near Earth in 28 years will pass harmlessly by, a new study confirms.
New observations of the asteroid 2011 AG5 now give astronomers complete confidence that the 460–foot-wide (140 meters) space rock won't hit Earth in the year 2040. When it was discovered last year, scientists said that 2011 AG5 had a 1-in-500 chance of impact with our planet.
Astronomers solidified the asteroid's harmless status during an observation campaign in October using the Gemini North telescope in Hawaii. The finding added more support to a NASA study that came to a similar conclusion in June based on months of observations of asteroid 2011 AG5.
But now, judging by the path of the two-football-field-sized asteroid, it shouldn't get any closer than 550,000 miles (890,000 kilometers) — about twice the distance between the Earth and the moon — when it zips by our planet.
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