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Asteroid makes Earth pass.

Summary: A black asteroid as big as an aircraft carrier has zoomed past Earth inside the orbit of the Moon.

A black asteroid as big as an aircraft carrier has zoomed past Earth inside the orbit of the Moon.

Astronomers trained their telescopes on Asteroid 2005 YU 55, which is the biggest asteroid to make a close pass by Earth since 1976.

It passed within about 200,000 miles of the planet.

"It was pretty easy to find," astronomer Ronald Dantowitz, director of the student-run Clay Center Observatory in Brookline, Massachusetts, said. "It's moving differently than the stars are moving. It looks like a giant rock floating through space."

Astronomers believe YU 55 has been visiting Earth for thousands of years, nudged out of the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter after a gravitational elbowing by Jupiter.

There is no chance it will hit Earth or the Moon in the next 100 years, according to computer simulations.

Independent Television News Limited 2011. All rights reserved.

Independent Television News Limited 2011. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Independent Television News Limited (ITN)
Date:Nov 9, 2011
Words:182
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