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Asteroid of 5 km in diameter to pass near from Earth today

Asteroid of 5 km in diameter to pass near from Earth today

In addition, the asteroid itself is a source of much confusion, as scientists are still not entirely sure if the space rock truly fits into this classification.

"Phaethon will approach within 0.069 au of Earth on 2017 December 16 when it will be a strong radar imaging target at Goldstone and Arecibo". The next pass is predicted to be in 2093 when it is expected to pass at just over 1.8 million miles (2.9 million kilometers) away.

Interestingly, the asteroid has been listed by NASA as Potentially Hazardous - which means that at some point in the future, it could possibly strike Earth.

On December 16, the asteroid 3200 Phaethon, a "potentially hazardous asteroid" will be at its very closest to Earth, passing only 6.2 million miles away from our little blue planet. After all, 6.2 million miles isn't a lot in space terms. But as a recent close flyby of Earth shows, there are dangers lurking out there in space that we'd never see coming, even with our advanced technology. Since its too dim, interested individuals may be able to catch a glimpse of it with a telescope, according to NASA's recommendation. It can also be watched on virtualtelescope.eu.

Today's approach will be the closest it has come to Earth since 1974, with the asteroid expected to come nearest to our planet at 23:00 GMT. "It only means there is a possibility for such a threat", NASA said.

Phaethon will fly past Earth today. In addition, the asteroid is about half the size of the asteroid that may have wiped out the dinosaurs. Thankfully, that's not going to happen.

Phaethon was first discovered in 1983, taking its name from the Greek mythological figure that nearly burned the Earth when he drove his flaming chariot too close to the planet. Usually, meteor showers are the result of icy debris on comets vaporizing when they come close to the sun or when they burn up in the earth's atmosphere.

The 2017 Geminid meteor shower is said to have surfaced because of the 3200 Phaethon, EarthSky reported.

To prove his divine powers, Phaethon made a decision to have a go, but he lost control of the chariot and ended up dragging the hot sun with him.

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