460-foot Christmas Asteroid just came terrifyingly close to Earth

The mysterious Christmas Asteroid came terrifyingly close to Earth on December 15. If you missed seeing it, then know that you still have a chance to spot.

| Updated on: Dec 16 2022, 21:35 IST
5 scary asteroids, including a skyscraper-sized, 270-foot, space rock, set to pass Earth
1/5 Asteroid 2015 RN35 - NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office has red-flagged an asteroid named Asteroid 2015 RN35 due to its extremely close approach to the planet. The 270-foot asteroid will make its closest approach to Earth today, December 15 at a distance of just 686000 million kilometers and is already on its way travelling at a speed of nearly 21276 kilometers per hour, which is more than the speed of a hypersonic ballistic missile!  (Pixabay)
2/5 Asteroid 2022 XO - An asteroid, named Asteroid 2022 XO too, is on its way towards Earth and will make a close approach today, December 9. What’s shocking is that the asteroid is nearly the size of an aircraft with a width of 82 feet! The Asteroid 2022 XO is expected to make its closest approach to the planet at a distance of 3.2 million kilometers at a speed of 30951 kilometers per hour, as per NASA.  (ESA)
3/5 Asteroid 2022 WU11 – This asteroid, with a size ranging between 75 feet and 170 feet, will make its close trip to Earth on December 17, at a distance of nearly 4.4 million kilometers. The asteroid, known as Asteroid 2022 WU11, is already rushing towards Earth, travelling at a speed of 38056 kilometers per hour.  (Pixabay)
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4/5 Asteroid 2016 YE – Another asteroid named Asteroid 2016 YE is heading for Earth and will make a close approach on December 18. This asteroid, with a size between 59 feet and 127 feet, is heading for Earth at a blistering speed of 17138 kilometers per hour. It will miss Earth at a distance of 7.1 million kilometers.  (Pixabay)
5/5 Asteroid 2019 XC1 – The fifth asteroid, with a size ranging between 52 feet and 114 feet, is named Asteroid 2022 XC1 and will be making its closest Earth approach on December 18. It will come as close as 3.1 million kilometers, according to NASA JPL. The asteroid is moving at a blistering speed of 25598 kilometer per hour. (Pixabay)
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The Christmas asteroid is a 460-foot monster. (Pixabay)

A mysterious and massive 460-foot wide Christmas asteroid just buzzed Earth from terrifyingly close quarters. On December 15, Asteroid 2015 RN35, which was first discovered on September 9, 2015, and renamed as the Christmas asteroid by the European Space Agency (ESA) is said to have a massive diameter of anything between 196-to-460 feet. The most worrying part is that the asteroid came so close that it whizzed past the Earth at a distance of just 426000 miles. This is just a little bit farther than the Moon is to Earth. It is less than twice the distance between the moon and Earth, actually. As per NASA's CNEOS data, the asteroid is travelling at a fiery speed of 21276 km per hour.

“Anyone else hear sleigh bells? Fantastic video of the #ESAChristmasAsteroid captured by @Rueffio as it passed over South Australia just a few hours after #CloseApproach! Keep the observations coming #Astronomy Twitter!” ESA Operations took to the Twitter to share information. Just like many other skywatchers, you can also spot this massive Asteroid in the sky. If you think that you have missed the chance, then that is not true! The best part is that you can snap this Christmas asteroid as it moves away from Earth till December 19. ESA shared how to spot this mysterious asteroid.

How to spot Christmas asteroid

ESA informed that sky-watchers in the Southern hemisphere will get the best view during the close approach of the asteroid. However, Europe too will get a chance over the following days until about 19 December. You should note that between December 15-17, asteroid 2015 RN35 will have a visual magnitude below 14 comparable to Pluto. To have a better look, you will need Telescopes, 30 cm and larger, to see the Christmas asteroid.

You can use ESA's Asteroid Toolkit to help plan your observations, as well as visualize the orbits of individuals and groups of near-Earth asteroids and even any close Approach. Access the ESA's Near-Earth object toolkit here.

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First Published Date: 16 Dec, 21:34 IST
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