Asteroid alert: First picture of large rock emerges as object nears Earth at 22,600mph

The dubbed 2019 UG11 is en route to approach the planet on the night of Friday, November 1. Astronomer Gianluca Masi of the Virtual Telescope Project in Italy told the asteroid will make a “very close encounter” with our planet. According to the asteroid expert, UG11 will appear tomorrow around 8.42pm GMT (4.42pm EDT).

Dr Masi said: “On November 1, 2019, at 8.42pm UTC, the just discovered asteroid UG11 will safely come very close, at about 210,000km from use just 50 percent of the average lunar distance. Almost on time for Halloween.

“Exactly at the flyby time, the Virtual Telescope Project will show it live, online.

“The streaming is scheduled for November 1, 2019, starting at 8pm UTC.”

The astrophysicist snapped an incredible picture of the asteroid approaching Earth on Wednesday, October 30.

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The asteroid picture features a single pale dot against the pitch-black expanse of space.

The blurry streaks surrounding the asteroid are star trails – an effect of long exposure astrophotography.

The photo is a 180-second-long exposure taken with the aid of a robotic telescope dubbed Elena.

The telescope tracked the motion of the asteroid across the sky, which contributed to the smudged star trails.

When the photo was taken, the asteroid was approximately 994,000 miles (1.6 million km) from Earth.

Asteroid UG11 was first spotted by astronomers at the Mt Lemmon survey in Arizona, US, on October 29.

A single astronomical unit is the distance between the Earth and the Sun or about 93 million miles (149.6 million km).

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NASA said: “Some asteroids and comets follow orbital paths that take them much closer to the Sun and therefore Earth – than usual.

“If a comet or asteroids approach brings it to within 1.3 astronomical units of the Sun, we call it a near-Earth object.”

The US space agency estimates the rock measures somewhere in the range of 42.6ft to 92ft (13m to 28m) across.

The asteroid is flying through space at speeds of around 10.11km per second or 22,615mph (36,396kph).

Tomorrow, Asteroid UG11 will approach the planet from a distance of about 0.00140 astronomical units.

The measurement translates into roughly 130,138 miles (209,437km) from Earth.

NASA said: “As they orbit the Sun, Near-Earth Objects can occasionally approach close to Earth.

“Note that a ‘close’ passage astronomically can be very far away in human terms: millions or even tens of millions of kilometres.”

You can watch the asteroid’s flyby above live online, courtesy of the Virtual Telescope Project.

Watch the asteroid on the official Virtual Telescope Project YouTube channel tomorrow.


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