Bus-Size Asteroid Zips Close By Earth
by Mike Wall, SPACE.com Senior Writer
Date: 14 May 2012 Time: 02:09 PM ET
The bus-size near-Earth asteroid 2012 JU (orbit delineated
in blue) came within about 119,000 miles of Earth on May 13, 2012, but
never posed a danger of hitting us.
An asteroid the size of a school bus gave Earth a close shave yesterday (May 13), passing well inside the orbit of the moon, but our planet was never in any danger of being hit.
The near-Earth asteroid 2012 JU, which is thought to be about 40 feet (12 meters) wide, came within 119,000 miles (191,500 kilometers) or so of our planet before zooming off into deep space, according to NASA's Near-Earth Object Program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. The moon orbits Earth at an average distance of 238,000 miles (382,900 km).
The asteroid-tracking office put together an animation of asteroid 2012 JU's orbit to illustrate its Sunday flyby. The space rock completes one lap around the sun every 3.2 years, according to a Near-Earth Object Program database.
Such close asteroid flybys aren't terribly uncommon.
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