March 6, 2009 in Nation/World

Asteroid gives Earth a close shave

Associated Press
 

PASADENA, Calif. – An asteroid about the size of one that leveled more than 800 square miles of forest in Siberia a century ago just buzzed the Earth.

The asteroid named 2009 DD45 was about 48,800 miles from Earth when it zipped past early Monday, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory reported.

That is just twice as high as the orbits of some telecommunications satellites and about a fifth of the distance to the Moon.

The space rock measured between 69 feet and 154 feet in diameter. The Planetary Society said that made it about the same size as the asteroid that exploded over Siberia in 1908.

Scientists at the Siding Spring Observatory in Australia spotted 2009 DD45 and began tracking it in late February when it was about 1 million miles away.

Of the known space rocks, the next time an object will get closer to Earth will be in 2029 when an 885-foot asteroid called 99942 Apophis comes within 20,000 miles.

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