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BREAKING: Asteroid set to barely miss Earth is so large it has its own moon

Delila James | Science Recorder | May 31, 2013

BREAKING: Asteroid set to barely miss Earth is so large it has its own moon

A massive asteroid will pass by Earth on Friday.

The giant asteroid set to pass by Earth this week has a companion moon, according to NASA. The huge rock, which is 1.7 (2.7 kilometers) miles wide, will be closest to Earth on Friday at 4:59 p.m. EDT, but still far too distant to pose any danger to the planet, according to space agency officials.

NASA scientists discovered the moon orbiting asteroid 1998 QE2 yesterday evening (May 29) while obtaining a series of radar images with the 230-foot (70-meter) Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, California.  The asteroid was about 3.7 million miles (6 million kilometers) away from Earth, or 15.6 lunar distances, at the time the moon was spotted. The radar observations were led by Marina Brozovic of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. Asteroid 1998 QE2 was first discovered on August 19, 1998, by astronomers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) program near Socorro, New Mexico.

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