Asteroid the size of a skyscraper to pass close to Earth today | Science & Tech News

An asteroid the size of a skyscraper will pass close to the Earth today – cosmically speaking.

The hulk of space rock is expected to soar within 1.7 million miles of our planet, but there’s no chance of it hitting us, NASA says.

The space agency’s Centre for Near Earth Object Studies estimates the asteroid is between 210 metres and 480 metres across.

This means it could be a similar size to New York City’s Empire State Building or London’s The Shard.

Discovered in 2008, the asteroid won’t be back our way again until 2032 – Friday is when it’s expected to be closest to the Earth.

On its expected return in 2032 it will be much further away, staying some 45 million miles away from us.

The harmless fly-by is one of several encounters this week. Three much smaller asteroids will also harmlessly buzz Earth on Friday, no more than tens of metres across, with another two on Saturday.

On Sunday, an asteroid roughly half the size of Friday’s main event will swing by, staying 4.5 million miles away.

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This time last year, an asteroid the size of an elephant passed by Earth in one of the closest encounters ever recorded.

The space rock, named 2023 BU, was projected to zoom over the southern tip of South America, only 2,200 miles (3,540km) above the Earth’s surface.

This made it the fourth closest passing by an asteroid over Earth ever recorded.

NASA insisted before it passed the planet that the rock had no chance of hitting Earth – and even if it came too close, scientists said most of it would burn up in the atmosphere.

That asteroid was estimated to be 3.5 metres to 8.5 metres across.

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