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Huge Asteroid to pass close to earth on Dec 12 – watch online

New Delhi, Dec 11 (): A giant asteroid will make a flyby of Earth on tomorrow, and astronomers can watch the action live on their computers. The asteroid “4179 Toutatis”, a potentially hazardous object, will pass in close proximity to the earth at noon on Wednesday.  You can watch them at Slooh’s website: http://www.slooh.com.

This asteroid is going to miss our planet, but will still come close enough to pass within 4 million miles about 18 lunar distances. The near-Earth asteroid 4179 Toutatis, which is about 3 miles (5 kilometers) wide. This huge asteroid was first viewed in 1934 and then officially discovered by Christian Pollas in 1989 and was named after the Celtic god worshipped in ancient Britain as Toutatis/Teutates.

It has been making close approaches to Earth at four-year intervals since its discovery. It was studied clearly with radar from 1992 to 2008.

The asteroid will come close to earth on December 12 at 12:10 PM.

On September 29, 2004, the asteroid zipped by Earth at only 0.01 AU which is about 4 lunar distances.

The next time it will have closest approach is on December 29, 2016 and would be 3,75,78,442 km away. After 2016, this asteroid will not pass close to earth again until 2069. The space rock orbits sun after every 1,469 days.

A NASA radar site in Goldstone, Calif. has been keeping an eye on Toutatis since Dec. 4.  A second radar site in Arecibo, Puerto Rica is also conducting observations as the asteroid approaches Earth.

The really good news: according to NASA’s Near Earth Object Program, Toutatis poses no impact hazard for hundreds of years. Researchers are preparing for this new visit and hope to get higher definition with the powerful new telescopes.

Asteroids are the class of small solar system bodies in the orbit around the sun. The larger asteroids have also been called planetoids.

At this time, there are no sure collisions on the horizon even over the next few hundred years.