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The stunning image shows a giant asteroid four times the size of the Empire State Building as it heads towards Earth

AN ASTRONOMER has spotted a mile-wide asteroid hurtling toward Earth.

Nasa has classified the asteroid as a “potentially dangerous object” – but nothing to justify desperate action to save Earth.

NASA tracks thousands of objects as they fly past Earth every year

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NASA tracks thousands of objects as they fly past Earth every yearPhoto credit: Getty Images – Getty
The asteroid is about 3.6 million miles from Earth in this image captured by the Virtual Telescope Project

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The asteroid is about 3.6 million miles from Earth in this image captured by the Virtual Telescope ProjectCredit: The Virtual Telescope Project

Any object that comes within 30 million miles of Earth is classified as a “Near Earth Object.”

The asteroid, named “7335 (1989 JA)” has the ominous “Potentially Dangerous Object” designation because it will come within five million miles of Earth.

7335 (1989 YES) will pass Earth on May 27 from a distance of 2.5 million miles from Earth.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab records show this is the 12th time this asteroid has flashed past Earth since 1916 – it will reappear in 2029.

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An astronomer with the Virtual Telescope Project snapped a remarkable image of 7335 (1989 JA) against the backdrop of space.

“The potentially dangerous asteroid…is almost at its minimum safe distance from us and is now very bright,” wrote Gianluca Masi, an astronomer who leads The Virtual Telescope Project.

The Virtual Telescope Project will host two live streams on the day the asteroid hurtles past Earth.

Much of the research on NEOs stems from congressional actions in 1998 and 2005 that forced Nasa to log NEOs large and small.

Nasa reported that there are about 40 NEOs per week, and in 20 years of cataloging they have identified more than 18,000.

According to NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), 99.9% of NEO’s close approaches are asteroids.

In 1908, an asteroid exploded over Siberia with the power of 1,000 atomic bombs, decimating 500,000 acres in a historic event known as the Tunguska Event.

The asteroid was only 30 meters wide – small compared to 7335 (1989 JA).

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Geolocation of objects in space by space agencies is a stunning demonstration of accuracy – modern science gives us confidence that if a world-threatening asteroid were to approach, humans would react.

“An asteroid impact is the only natural disaster that can be prevented,” said a scientist with NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office.

Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck starred as astronauts tasked with destroying an asteroid that would obliterate Earth in the 1998 film Armageddon

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Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck starred as astronauts tasked with destroying an asteroid that would obliterate Earth in the 1998 film ArmageddonCredit: Rex Features

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https://www.the-sun.com/tech/5420484/asteroid-size-of-empire-state-building-heading-towards-earth/ The stunning image shows a giant asteroid four times the size of the Empire State Building as it heads towards Earth

Chris Barrese

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