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Do Large Asteroids Ever Come Close to the Earth?

Now that you’ve recovered from the awe of this summer’s total solar eclipse, be prepared for another big celestial event. On 1 September, a massive asteroid named Florence will pass by the Earth, at a safe distance of about 4.4 million miles (7 million km). Asteroid 3122 Florence will appear brighter than many planets and stars in the night sky, making it visible to aficionados with small telescopes, as it passes through the constellations Piscis Austrinus, Capricornus, Aquarius, and Delphinus.

See you in the year 2500:

  • If you miss Florence, it will pass by Earth again on its orbit through our solar system, but it won't be coming this close again until about the year 2500.

  • “Florence is the largest asteroid to pass by our planet this close since the NASA program to detect and track near-Earth asteroids began,” explains Paul Chodas, manager of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies.

  • Asteroid Florence was discovered by Bobby Bus in 1981 at Siding Spring Observatory in Australia. It was named in honor of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.

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More Info: NASA

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