Mental Floss

A Very Fast Asteroid Will Pass Close to Earth on Halloween

Andrew LaSane
iStock / iStock

If you’d rather spend Halloween afternoon with a telescope instead of preparing to collect candy in a punny costume, then you may be in luck, because a recently discovered asteroid will fly by Earth on October 31 around 17:18 UT (approximately 1:18 p.m. EST).

According to the official report, the asteroid (named 2015 TB145) was spotted for the first time on October 10 and has an approximate diameter of 320 meters. Scientists have calculated that the velocity of the asteroid is “unusually high” at 35 km/s. Its trajectory shows that the fast ball will pass by around 1.3 lunar distances away from us, so there is no worry of impact or certain death.

This will be the closest that an asteroid has passed the Earth since 2004. As far as NASA knows, no other object will come that close to the planet until 2027, so the space agency is particularly excited about the opportunity to study the speeding rock.

[h/t Gizmodo]

An earlier draft of the post suggested that asteroid 2015 TB145 would pass 16.3 lunar distances away from Earth. There was a second asteroid, 2009 FD, that passed Earth on October 29 at 16.3 lunar distances. The correct distance for 2015 TB145 was 1.3 lunar distances.