Nov 11, 2018: Halloween asteroid cruises by Earth again
SPACE - Halloween asteroid 2015 TB145 cruises by Earth, its second pass, and it will make a third pass in 2088. Earthlings won’t have to duck as the skull-like rock will be an astronomical distance from Earth.
NASA estimates it will pass at some 105 lunar distances from Earth, meaning 238,000 miles multiplied by 105.
The space rock, some 2,000 feet in diameter, earned its nickname from its resemblance to a human skull and the timing of its much closer first pass at 1.27 lunar distances on Halloween Day 2015, Oct 31. On its third pass it will be 20 lunar distances from Earth.
Also nicknamed the Great Pumpkin asteroid, it isn’t causing consternation. Even the 1.27 lunar distance of the first pass caused no more than a shrug at an agency that closely tracks space rocks, the Center for Near Earth Object Studies at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California: “This is the closest approach by a known object this large until 1999 AN10 approaches within 1 lunar distance in August 2027,” according to a NASA news release. “The last approach closer than this ... was by 2004 XP14 in July 2006 at 1.1 lunar distances.”
The tracking operation helps to keep consternation in check. The 3200 Phaethon asteroid – 3 miles wide – passed by Earth at 6.4 million miles in Dec 2017. It earned a “potentially hazardous” ranking from the International Astronomical Union because of its size and distance from Earth, but the danger was downplayed by other asteroid-tracking agencies.