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Stunning image captures huge asteroid as it heads towards Earth

AN ASTRONOMER has spotted a mile-wide asteroid hurtling toward Earth.

Nasa has categorized the asteroid as a “potentially hazardous object” – but nothing that warrants desperate action to save Earth.

Nasa tracks thousands of objects wizzing by Earth each year

Nasa tracks thousands of objects wizzing by Earth each yearCredit: Getty Images – Getty
The asteroid is about 3.6million miles away from Earth in this image captured by The Virtual Telescope Project

The asteroid is about 3.6million miles away from Earth in this image captured by The Virtual Telescope ProjectCredit: The Virtual Telescope Project

Any object that comes within 30million miles of Earth is classified as a “near-Earth object”.

The asteroid, named “7335 (1989 JA)”, has the menacing distinction of “potentially hazardous object” because it will come within five million miles of Earth.

7335 (1989 JA) will pass Earth from a distance of 2.5million miles of Earth on May 27th.

Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Lab records show this is the 12th time since 1916 this asteroid has dazzled past Earth – it’ll come around again in 2029.

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An astronomer at The Virtual Telescope Project snapped a remarkable picture of 7335 (1989 JA) against the back drop of space.

“The potentially hazardous asteroid…is almost at its safe, minimum distance from us, being now very bright,” wrote Gianluca Masi, an astronomer leading The Virtual Telescope Project.

The Virtual Telescope Project will host two live streams on the day the asteroid rips past Earth.

Much of the research on NEOs stems from Congressional actions in 1998 and 2005 which compelled Nasa to log NEOs big and small.

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Nasa reported there are about 40 NEOs per week and in 20 years of cataloguing, they’ve identified more than 18,000.

99.9% of NEO close approaches are asteroids, according to Nasa’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS).

In 1908, an asteroid exploded over Siberia with the force of 1,000 atomic bombs, decimating 500,000 acres in a historical occurrence remembered as the Tunguska Event.

The asteroid was just 30-meters wide – small in comparison to 7335 (1989 JA).

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Space agencies geolocating objects in space is an amazing demonstration in accuracy – modern science gives us the assurance that if a world-threatening asteroid were to approach, humans would react.

“An asteroid impact is the only natural disaster that can be prevented” a scientist with Nasa’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office said.

Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck starred as astronauts tasked with destroying an asteroid set to obliterate Earth in the 1998 film Armageddon

Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck starred as astronauts tasked with destroying an asteroid set to obliterate Earth in the 1998 film ArmageddonCredit: Rex Features

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