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Dublin: 10 °C Saturday 22 November, 2014

What do you mean you missed it? An asteroid just flew past Earth

An asteroid measuring 11m in diameter came five times closer than the moon at around 4pm – but that’s still 60,000km away.

No need, lads - we've got this one under control.
No need, lads - we've got this one under control.
Image: (c) Walt Disney Company via IMDB

Updated, 16.14

TOO LATE – you’ve already missed it.

If you weren’t standing outside with a telescope or some binoculars, you would have seen an asteroid passing overhead – five times closer than the moon.

The catchily-titled 2012 BX34 passed by planet Earth at around 4pm – though there was no need for alarm: at 60,000km away, and measuring only 11m wide, it was not big or close enough to cause any worry.

The asteroid – which is so relatively small that it wasn’t even discovered by astronomers until Wednesday – came close enough to Earth to be registered as one of the 20 closest approaches that any astronomical object has ever made.

When it was first discovered, 2012 BX34 was thought to be passing at a height of 20,000 km – close enough to put it on a collision course with man-made satellites in near-earth orbit – but later estimates proved it was not coming close enough to cause any harm.

Previously: Asteroid comes close to Earth – but what would happen if it hit us?

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