Friday, September 1, 2017

Asteroid 3122 Florence

A mountain-size asteroid zoomed past Earth on the morning of Friday, September 1st. It is the largest asteroid to come near Earth since NASA starting tracking asteroids. It passed at a distance of about 4.4 million miles from Earth.

Florence was discovered by astronomer Schelte "Bobby" Bus in 1981 at Australia's Siding Spring Observatory. The space rock loops around the sun every 2.35 years on an elliptical path, getting as close to our star as 1 astronomical unit (AU) and as far away as 2.5 AU. (One AU is the average Earth-sun distance — about 93 million miles, or 150 million km.)

Go here to see asteroid 3122 Florence, as seen by the Virtual Telescope Project on Aug. 30, 2017 — two days before its closest approach to Earth.

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