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Giant asteroid 1998 OR2 flying near Earth classed as 'potentially hazardous'




A giant asteroid classified by astronomers as "potentially hazardous" is set to become the largest to pass earth this year.

The two-mile-long rock is expected to race past on Wednesday, coming within 4 million miles of the planet.

An image of the asteroid taken by scientists at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico
An image of the asteroid taken by scientists at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico

Called Asteroid (52768) 1998 OR2, is thought to be travelling at almost 19,500 miles per hour.

Images taken by experts from the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico have revealed that it has a number of hills and ridges across its surface.

It will not be bright enough to see with the naked eye - but amateur observers will be able to watch its journey across the sky using telescopes.

The Center for Near Earth Objects has categorised it as a "potentially dangerous asteroid" as a result of its size and proximity to earth.

The Nasa-tracked rock's orbit is also expected to bring the object within a million miles of earth in 2079.

The asteroid is set to whizz past earth this week. Stock picture
The asteroid is set to whizz past earth this week. Stock picture

This week's flyby comes just a few days after residents across the UK spotted trains of lights across produced by Elon Musk's Space X programme - dubbed Starlink.

The project aims to put thousands of small, low-orbit satellites above the Earth in order to improve internet service across the globe.



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