Massive asteroid to safely pass by Earth Friday Sept. 1, 2017.


A near-Earth asteroid about 4.4 km in size will pass safely by our planet on Friday, at a distance of about seven million km, NASA has said.

Asteroid Florence, a large near-Earth asteroid, will safely pass by Earth on Friday, at a distance of about 7 million kilometers, or about 18 Earth-Moon distances, according to the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).Officially designated 3122 Florence, the natural remnant of the formation of the solar system is the largest asteroid to pass so close by since NASA started tracking near-Earth asteroids. Measurements from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and NEOWISE mission indicate it’s about 4.4 kilometers across.

The 2017 encounter will be Florence’s closest pass since 1890 and until at least 2500. It provides an opportunity for scientists to study this asteroid up close. Asteroid Florence is expected to be an excellent target for ground-based radar observations, NASA said.Florence was discovered by Schelte “Bobby” Bus at Siding Spring Observatory in Australia in March 1981. It is named in honor of Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), the founder of modern nursing.

The resulting radar images will show the real size of Florence and also could reveal surface details as small as about 10 meters.

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