Christmas Eve Asteroid To Pass By Earth Today
Space enthusiasts can expect two spectacular gifts this holiday season, including an asteroid that will be passing by Earth on Dec. 24 and a full moon on Dec. 25.
The asteroid, which will grace the sky at 8:03 a.m. Eastern time on Christmas Eve, is dubbed 2003 SD220, and will not be back again until 2018, according to a news release. And don't worry about Santa and his crew--the asteroid is estimated to be 6.8 million miles away from earth. Experts also note that the asteroid will not be visible to the naked eye, with the small rocky body passing at the speed of 27 kilometers/second.
"There is no cause for concern over the upcoming flyby of asteroid 2003 SD220 thisChristmas Eve," said Paul Chodas, manager of NASA's Center for NEO Studies at JPL. "The closest this object will come to Santa and his eight tiny reindeer is about 28 times the distance between the Earth and the moon."
And then, for the first time in 38 years, the last full moon of the year will fall on Christmas. This has not occurred since 1977 and will not happen again until 2034, according to Business Insider.
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