‘Potentially hazardous’ asteroid size of a blue whale to pass Earth’s orbit

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An asteroid labelled as “potentially hazardous” is set to fly by Earth on Friday at astonishing speeds.

Travelling at 27 times the speed of sound, NASA says it will pass the Blue Planet on August 12.

Going by the catchy name of 2015 FF, it is thought to be between 13 and 28 meters across.

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That’s roughly the size of an adult blue whale and is expected to pass us at 2.67 million miles away at its closest points.

Rattling along at a nippy 20,512 mph, the distance it will be from Earth will be around eight times the distance from here to the moon.

As space goes, that isn’t very far at all.

All objects travelling within 120 million miles of Earth get flagged by US space agency NASA while any less than 4.65 million miles away get put down as "potentially hazardous."

From here they get monitored closely by astronomers who keep an eye for anything straying from its prediction.

According to Live Science, around 28,000 asteroids are currently on NASA’s radar, which uses a system called the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System, or ATLAS for short.

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ATLAS’s telescopes are able to do a full scan of the sky per day, work it has been caring out since it first was set up five years ago in 2017.

Since then it has picked up 700 near-Earth asteroids and 66 comets.

Two of these have collided with Earth – one in 2018 and the other in 2019. The 2019 event plopped into the ocean off the southern coast of Puerto Rico while in 2018 one landed close to the Botswana and South Africa border. Both were small and didn’t cause damage.

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