(RNN) – A three-mile wide asteroid will whiz past Earth on Friday, Aug. 1, passing by at a distance of about 4.4 million miles.
In astronomical terms, that’s like having your hair parted by a Tomahawk missile.
The colossal rock is the biggest of thousands of asteroids that regularly pass closely to Earth, and this encounter is the nearest miss since 1890. Asteroid Florence, named in honor of Florence Nightingale, is in a regular orbit around the sun, but its elliptical trajectory means it rarely nears the planet. It will not come this close again until 2500.
It will be at an observable distance of about 18 moon-distances away, visible with small telescopes for several nights, according to NASA.
Scientists will use ground-based radar to study this asteroid up close. Radar imaging will show the real size of Florence and could reveal surface details as small as about 30 feet.
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