Incoming asteroid buzzes, misses Earth, unrelated to exploding meteor over Russia

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By Marcia Dunn

The Associated Press — Cape Canaveral, Fla.

The world is safe — at least from one asteroid.

A 150-foot (46-metre) cosmic rock hurtled safely past Earth today.

It was the closest known flyby for a rock of its size, passing within 17,000 miles (27,357 kilometres). That’s closer than some satellites.

The flyby occurred just hours after a much smaller meteor exploded above Russia’s Ural Mountains.

Astronomers say the two events were coincidental, and the objects were travelling in opposite directions. At least one scientist called it an exciting day and “like a shooting gallery here.”

The asteroid was invisible to astronomers in the United States at the time of its closest approach on the opposite of the world. But in Australia, astronomers used binoculars and telescopes to watch the point of light speed across the clear night sky.

Organizations: Marcia DunnThe Associated Press

Geographic location: Russia, Cape Canaveral, United States Australia

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