Look out! Asteroid on its way

Undated handout artists impression issued by the University of Cambridge of the shattered remains of an asteroid which contained huge amounts of water and orbited an exhausted star, located 150 light years away from Earth. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday October 10, 2013. This is the first time that both water and a rocky surface - two key ingredients for habitable planets - have been found beyond our solar system, according to scientists from the universities of Cambridge and Warwick. It suggests that the star GD 61 and its planetary system had the potential to contain exoplanets -  planets which exist outside our solar system - which were similar to our own. See PA story SCIENCE Asteroid. Photo credit should read: University of Cambridge/PA Wire''NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further perm
Undated handout artists impression issued by the University of Cambridge of the shattered remains of an asteroid which contained huge amounts of water and orbited an exhausted star, located 150 light years away from Earth. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday October 10, 2013. This is the first time that both water and a rocky surface - two key ingredients for habitable planets - have been found beyond our solar system, according to scientists from the universities of Cambridge and Warwick. It suggests that the star GD 61 and its planetary system had the potential to contain exoplanets - planets which exist outside our solar system - which were similar to our own. See PA story SCIENCE Asteroid. Photo credit should read: University of Cambridge/PA Wire''NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further perm
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A giant asteroid is hurtling towards Earth – and stargazers should be able to see it from their own garden.

The huge rock, called 2004 BL86 by astronomers, will sweep safely past Earth on January 26.

A spokesman for NASA said: “It will be the closest asteroid 2004 BL86 will get to Earth for at least the next 200 years.

“And while it poses no threat to Earth for the foreseeable future, it’s a relatively close approach by a relatively large asteroid, so it provides us a unique opportunity to observe and learn more.”

Amateur astronomers with small telescopes and strong binoculars should be able to see the asteroid from the evening of January 26 into the morning of January 27.

The asteroid will whizz past in front of the constellations Hydra, Cancer and Leo.

The asteroid, which is about a third of a mile wide, will pass about 745,000 miles from the Earth’s surface. For comparison, the moon is about 240,000 miles from Earth.

The flyby is notable because 2004 BL86 will be the closest of any known space rock this large until asteroid 1999 AN10 flies past Earth in 2027.