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Asteroid set for close encounter with Earth.

Summary: Astronomers are getting their telescopes ready to catch sight of a speeding ball of rock which will fly past the Earth on Tuesday night.

Astronomers around the world are getting their telescopes ready to catch sight of a speeding ball of rock which will fly past the Earth on Tuesday night.

The asteroid, known as 2005 Yu55, is about a quarter of a mile wide and will miss the Earth by 201,700 miles - the closest a space rock this size has come to the planet in at least 200 years.

Although it is unlikely someone will see the asteroid with the naked eye, professional and amateur astronomers with suitable equipment will try to study the rock's surface and composition.

If 2005 Yu55 was to hit the Earth it would unleash a 4,000-megaton blast, which would greatly exceed the yield of the most powerful H-bomb.

The impact could wipe out a city the size of London or New York, while landing in the sea would cause a 70ft high tsunami.

But experts stress there is no chance of such a disaster happening because they know the asteroid's path.

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 7, 2011
Words:214
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