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NASA Warns 'Potentially Hazardous' 1,600-Foot Asteroid Will Pass Near Earth


Near-Earth asteroid, artwork

Photo: Getty Images

NASA is warning that a "potentially dangerous asteroid" is going to pass between Earth and the Moon this weekend. The asteroid, named 2008 TZ3, is over 1,600-feet wide, making it larger than the Empire State Building. It is estimated the asteroid will get within 3.5 million miles of the Earth as it whizzes past the planet at speeds of more than 18,000 mph on Sunday (May 15) evening.

While that may seem like a significant distance, NASA classifies any asteroid that gets within 4.6 million miles of Earth as potentially dangerous.

The asteroid is on a two-year orbit around the sun and came even closer when it passed by the Earth in 2020. This is the closest the 2008 TZ3 will come to Earth until 2163, according to spacereference.org. The next time the asteroid approaches Earth will be on May 25, 2024, when it will pass at a distance of nearly seven million miles.