Asteroid set for Halloween flyby

2004 BL86 asteroid

TRICK OR TREAT When asteroid 2015 TB145 passes Earth on Halloween, researchers will try and produce radar maps such as this one of another asteroid, 2004 BL86, and its satellite.

JPL-Caltech/NASA, NRAO, AUI, NSF

A trick-or-treating asteroid is on course to zip through Earth’s neighborhood this Halloween. On October 31, at 1:05 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, asteroid 2015 TB145 will tear past the planet at a distance of 480,000 kilometers, a bit beyond the orbit of the moon.

The 400-meter-wide asteroid poses no threat to Earth. Planetary scientists will take advantage of the visit and bounce radar off the space rock to learn about its size and shape. No known asteroid this large will buzz the Earth again until August 2027, when asteroid 1999 AN10 passes at about the same distance as the moon.

Christopher Crockett is a freelance science writer and editor based in Arlington, Va. He has a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of California, Los Angeles.

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