Asteroid the size of two football pitches and travelling at 65,000mph passes within 900,000 miles of Earth

  • The asteroid is called UN12 and was travelling at 65,000 miles per hours
  • It passed 893,305 miles from the Earth when it approached at 1:42pm GMT
  • Any object passing within 120million miles of Earth is tracked by NASA 

An asteroid flying through space at 65 thousand miles per hour came within less than a million miles of Earth, according to NASA.

The 790ft space rock - which is about the same length as two football pitches - passed us safely at 1:42pm GMT.

The asteroid is called UN12. It passed within 893,305 miles of us, or about four times the distance between Earth and the moon. 

NASA tracks any object that passes within 120million miles of the Earth and says anything passing within 4.65million miles is classed as potentially hazardous (stock image)

Any object travelling within 120million miles of Earth is classed as a Near Earth Object by NASA, which monitors them closely. 

It was the second asteroid to pass Earth today. The earlier one, called UH1 came within 2,265,333 miles of the Earth and was 285ft tall. It passed at 03:36 GMT.

Another asteroid will make a trip past the Earth at 6pm GMT this evening.

The smaller asteroid - called VX - is only 170ft tall and will pass more than 975,000 miles from the Earth.

'Nasa knows of no asteroid or comet currently on a collision course with Earth, so the probability of a major collision is quite small,' the space agency told The Sun.

The asteroid, UN12 is twice the size of Elizabeth Tower (also known as the Big Ben clock tower), bigger than the London Eye and about 220ft shorter than The Shard, as seen in this graphic

The asteroid, UN12 is twice the size of Elizabeth Tower (also known as the Big Ben clock tower), bigger than the London Eye and about 220ft shorter than The Shard, as seen in this graphic

A graph showing some of the different asteroids in space, how often they hit the Earth and the damage they could cause

A graph showing some of the different asteroids in space, how often they hit the Earth and the damage they could cause

'In fact, as best as we can tell, no large object is likely to strike the Earth any time in the next several hundred years.'  

However, according to the European Space Agency there are currently 878 asteroids at risk of hitting the Earth in the next 100 years.

The agency added that an impact by even a small asteroid could lead to 'serious devastation' and, to reduce the risks of a collision.

As per NASA policy, any fast-moving space object within 4.65million miles of Earth is considered to be 'potentially hazardous'.

IS EARTH DUE FOR A MAJOR ASTEROID IMPACT?

Researchers have discovered most of the asteroids that are about a kilometers in size, but are now on the hunt for those that are about 140m - as they could cause catastrophic damage.

Although nobody knows when the next big impact will occur, scientists have found themselves under pressure to predict - and intercept - its arrival.

Artist's impression pictured 

Artist's impression pictured 

'Sooner or later we will get... a minor or major impact,' said Rolf Densing, who heads the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt

It may not happen in our lifetime, he said, but 'the risk that Earth will get hit in a devastating event one day is very high.'

'For now, there is little we can do.' 

Source: AFP 

An asteroid passed within less than 900,000 miles of the Earth

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