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Huge asteroid spotted this week to ‘fly closer to Earth than the moon’ on Friday

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    A huge asteroid that was only detected this week is due to fly very close to Earth on Friday (March 17), scientists say.

    Asteroid 2023 EY was spotted by a telescope at the Sutherland Observing Station in South Africa on Monday (March 13) and is set to come closer to Earth than the moon.

    Boffins from NASA's Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) say it will come within a distance of around 149,000 miles at 11.35am.

    READ MORE: NASA captures new image of star just moments before its explosive death

    That’s about 62% of the moon’s average distance from our planet.

    At this point, asteroid 2023 EY will be travelling at around 18,100mph – over ten times faster than the average speed of a bullet.

    NASA data shows the space rock is between 43ft and 95ft wide (13m and 29m).

    It poses no threat to Earth given its trajectory, which is perhaps lucky given that scientists only noticed it was coming four days before it is due to zip past.

    If it was headed our way, we'd probably be fine as NASA say any asteroid smaller than 25m wide would likely burn up in the atmosphere before making impact.

    However, Asteroids of that size can still have some effect on us.

    According to EarthSky, the Chelyabinsk meteor – which had an estimated width of 59ft (18m) – entered Earth's atmosphere on February 15, 2013, at such a high speed and shallow angle that it created a shock wave that broke windows in six Russian cities.

    Some 1,500 people needed medical attention, mainly due to flying broken glass.

    The Virtual Telescope Project (VTP) is going to livestream Friday's asteroid as it zooms past.

    Gianluca Masi, the project's director, told Newsweek that the fly by is "very close".

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